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SEPTEMBER BY-ELECTIONS

ANC trounced as IFP lands repeat blow in KZN while EFF topples ruling party in North West, delivers scare in Limpopo

ANC trounced as IFP lands repeat blow in KZN while EFF topples ruling party in North West, delivers scare in Limpopo
Illustrative image: (Photos: Lihlumelo Toyana | Supplied | Alet Pretorius)

The ANC lost two safe seats in the latest round of by-elections as the IFP won another ward off the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal, this time in uMhlatuze, and the EFF tripped it up in Maquassi Hills, North West. The ANC also lost ground to the EFF in a safe ANC seat in Blouberg, Limpopo. However, it was not all bad for the ANC, as the party won big in Madibeng, North West.

KwaZulu-Natal

Ward 13 (Mabuyeni Gubhethuka) uMhlatuze in King Cetshwayo: IFP 53% (23%) ANC 46% (63%) EFF 1% (10%)

 

The setting: Ward 13 is east of Richards Bay. It is part of the Esikhawini township area, is next to the Qhubu Lake and houses the Gibisila Shembe Church. The ward has four areas in it. Mabuyeni has the most voters. It is where the ANC did best in 2021. Mkhobosa is another ANC stronghold. The IFP carried Gubhethuka, which is close to the Qhubu Lake. The ANC also steamrolled the opposition in Empembeni. 

The ward is below Ward 12 where the IFP shocked the ANC in a 2022 by-election. uMhlatuze includes Richards Bay and Empangeni. uMhlatuze is the third-most populous municipality in the province after eThekwini and Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg). It is part of the King Cetshwayo District which includes Eshowe, Nkandla and Melmoth. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the IFP by 40 percentage points in an easy win in 2021. The victory was built on getting close to 80% of the vote in Mabuyeni and Mkhobosa. The ANC beat the IFP by 40 percentage points in Empembeni. The outlier in the ward is Gubhethuka where the IFP won the voting district. This was the most competitive of the four voting districts. 

Despite the comfortable win in Ward 13, the ANC lost its outright majority in uMhlatuze. The IFP won the mayoral chain with the support of the DA, EFF, Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). The IFP had the support of 40 of the 67 councillors to get their candidate for mayor elected. 

The by-election: ANC ward councillor Lindokuhle Ndlovu resigned after surviving an assassination attempt. His bakkie was sprayed with bullets while he was driving it. This was less than a month after the lone ACDP councillor, John Myaka, was assassinated. He was shot dead while preaching to congregants. 

The IFP’s upset by-election win in uMhlatuze was crucial for its control of the uMhlatuze mayoral chain. The additional seat meant it now had 24 seats. With the DA’s eight seats and the FF+ and ACDP’s single seat each, it has 34 of the 67 seats, a narrow but effective majority. This meant that despite the EFF withdrawing its support for the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP was able to hold on to this key municipality. This has also emerged as the flagship municipality for the IFP and DA’s partnership in the province as the municipality now has a deputy mayor from the DA. 

This was also the first by-election for the IFP since the death of party founder and president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi

The IFP shocked the ANC again in uMhlatuze. It was able to win over ANC and EFF voters to overturn a 40 percentage point gap from 2021 and beat the ANC by 376 votes this time. 

The IFP grew in all four voting districts, while the ANC and EFF lost ground in all four. In Gubhethuka, the IFP moved from 51% to 75%, with the ANC falling from 36% to 25%. The IFP also won the Empembeni voting district off the ANC. The IFP’s growth in this district was meteoric. It surged from 18% to 65%, while the ANC receded from 58% to 34% and the EFF collapsed from 17% to 1%. Turnout was a very high 76% in Empembeni. 

The ANC carried the vote-rich area of Mabuyeni again. However, the gap was not significant enough. Its support in the district went from 79% to 56%, while the IFP leapt from 10% to 46%. In Mkhobosa, the ANC’s support was shaved from 77% to 64%, with the IFP almost tripling its percentage support, getting 35%, well up from 12% in 2021. The EFF could only muster 1% here, after getting 8% in the district in 2021. 

The win for the IFP means it is now the same size as the ANC in the uMhlatuze council. Both have 25 seats. It also gives the IFP buffer and allows for the scenario of it not necessarily having to rely on the ACDP’s support to hold onto the mayoral chain. 

ANC 25 (26) IFP 25 (24) DA 8 EFF 6 National Freedom Party 1  FF+ 1 and ACDP 1. Total: 67. The IFP, DA, FF+ and ACDP now control 35 of the 67 seats in the council. 

Poll: 65% (50%)

North West

Ward 3 (Tswelelang Wolmaransstad) Maquassi Hills in Kenneth Kaunda: EFF 47% (33%) ANC 44% (63%) PA 9%

 

The setting: Tswelelang is a township south of the town centre of Wolmaransstad. It is on the R505 regional road between Wolmaransstad and Makwassie. Maquassi Hills’ seat of power is in Wolmaransstad. The municipality also includes Leeudoringstad. The area is known for its diamond diggings, groundnuts and maize. It is the least-populated municipality in Kenneth Kaunda. The district includes Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp.

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the EFF by a margin of just under two votes to one. They were the only parties to register any support of significance in the ward. The ANC won 13 out of 22 seats here in 2021, slightly down from 14 in 2016. The EFF consolidated its position as the second-largest party in the municipality, getting four seats, up from the three it held previously. The DA was third with two seats. 

The by-election: The ward councillor died. The ANC and EFF were joined by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) on the ballot.

The EFF toppled the ANC in Tswelelang in an upset win. The ANC was hurt by both the EFF and the PA. It came unstuck in the relatively vote-rich Ragogang Primary School district. The ANC’s support declined from 62% to 41%, while the EFF leapt from 35% to 48% and the PA won a credible 11% of the vote. This 79-vote margin would be enough for the EFF to hang on for a famous win.

The ANC got its supporters out in the relatively sparsely populated African Methodist Episcopalian Church district. Turnout was higher here than at Ragogang Primary School. However, it would not be enough for the ANC to save the ward from the red berets. The party’s support declined from 68% to 49%, while the EFF made an incision here, improving from 28% to 44%, while the PA obtained 7%. The winning voting district margin of 28 votes was not enough for the ANC. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC swats EFF, UDM and other opposition aside to retain two wards in Mbhashe, Eastern Cape

The EFF has now turned the tables on the ANC in four North West wards since 2021. In May 2022, it won a seat off the ANC in Mafikeng (Lomanyaneng). It followed that up with two more wards in Ditsobotla (Lichtenburg) in December 2022. All four of these wards have a different profile from the platinum belt of the province where the EFF first made its electoral mark in the province. This is very encouraging for the party. The one caveat is that it has not been able to replicate its initial success in places like Rustenburg and Madibeng in the local government elections of 2021 and subsequent by-elections. This is where most North West voters are situated. 

The new Maquassi Hills council composition is: ANC 12 (13) EFF 5 (4) DA 2 SA Political Association 1 FF+ 1 Forum 4 Service Delivery 1. Total: 22. 

Poll: 54% (46%)

Ward 3 (Madidi) in Madibeng, Bojanala: ANC 86% (63%) EFF 14% (6%)

 

The setting: Madibeng is the second-most populous municipality in North West. Its seat of power is the town of Brits. It also includes Hartbeespoort, Jericho, Mooinooi and Broederstroom. It forms part of the Bojanala District where Rustenburg sits. This is the heart of the platinum belt. Madidi is on the edge of Madibeng, is close to the Gauteng border and close to Winterveld in Tshwane. It is between Klipgat and Dewildt. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won close to a two-thirds majority here. A local party, Save Madibeng, ended up being the biggest thorn in their side, obtaining 27% of the vote. The ANC beat the EFF by a margin in excess of 10 votes to one. 

The ANC retained its outright majority in Madibeng. It lost two seats to finish on 44. The support it lost went mainly to Save Madibeng which obtained three seats. The EFF became the official opposition as it matched its 14-seat haul from 2016. The DA lost three seats to finish on 12. The FF+ was the main beneficiary here as it grew from two seats to four. 

The by-election: The ward councillor died after a long illness. Save Madibeng elected not to run in the by-election, with the ANC and EFF hoping to lure across the Save Madibeng voters in the by-election. 

The ANC won over most of the Save Madibeng voters as it romped home for an easy win. While both parties increased their returns in all five voting districts, the ANC’s gains were overall more impressive. It won more than 83% of the vote in four of the five voting districts. At the Roman Catholic Church it won 89% of the vote, significantly up from 63% in 2021. 

This is the second impressive by-election in Madibeng for the ANC in the past five weeks. Madibeng has many North West voters. This will give the party good encouragement on the road to 2024. 

Poll: 38% (51%)

Limpopo

Ward 11 (Puraspan Ga-Rammutla) Blouberg in Capricorn: ANC 65% (85%) EFF 35% (13%) ACDP <1%

 

The setting: Ward 11 is north of Mogwadi (formerly Dendron). It sits between Bochum and the Blouberg Nature Reserve. The ward is mostly west of the R521 regional road which links Mogwadi with Alldays. A small chunk of it sits on the other side of the R521. Blouberg is the northernmost municipality in the Capricorn District, which includes the Polokwane and Lepelle-Nkumpi (Lebowakgomo) municipalities. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC chalks up commanding Eastern Cape victories, DA romps home in Bryanston

Blouberg includes the small towns of Bochum, Vivo and Alldays. The municipality extends to the Botswana border and includes the Blouberg mountains on the western edge of the Soutpansberg.

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC got well more than 80% in a landslide win here, while the EFF got into double figures. No other party featured in this ward in 2021. 

The seat allocation for the municipality had an interesting quirk. Only one party grew here in 2021. The Congress of the People (COPE) might have had a tough day at the electoral office across the country, but not here. It grew from one seat to two. The ANC won 33 of 43 seats, holding steady on its 2016 haul. The EFF was the second-largest party again, winning seven seats, down from the eight it won in 2016. The DA lost a seat as well to complete the 43-seat council with its single seat. The council became smaller in 2021, moving from 44 seats to 43. 

The by-election: The previous ward councillor died. The ANC had a tougher-than-expected time in this by-election. While it won 65% of the vote, it lost ground in all five voting districts. Ralekwana Secondary School in Puraspan has more than half of the ward’s voters. The ANC’s returns declined from 84% to 64% while the EFF improved from 15% to 35%. At Sehwiditsane Primary School, the ANC fell from 91% to 56% while the EFF surged from 7% to 44%. 

Limpopo will be a critical province for the ANC in 2024. Its path to an outright win runs through the mountains of Blouberg and the streets of Thohoyandou and Giyani. This result will give the ANC some pause for thought. Its support has been resolute in its Limpopo strongholds. The numbers in Blouberg challenge that Limpopo calculus. However, one swallow does not make an electoral summer. Future Limpopo by-elections will need to be watched with greater scrutiny to see if this trend continues. 

Poll: 49% (51%)

The next round of by-elections will be on 11 October. The ANC will defend three seats in the Northern Cape and one in Mpumalanga, while the DA will defend two in Matlosana in Klerksdorp. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    I wish the people who voted for the EFF all the very best. I would love to see a dozen or so towns taken by them in landslide majorities so that their ‘policies’ can be tested out thoroughly.

  • John Buchan says:

    In most parts of the world citizens don’t vote for a party who year after year steal, have no moral compass and incompetent. I guess not all cultures are the same after all.

    • Grant S says:

      Sadly, the option after defecting from one party that has proven to act as you describe is to move to a new option that has already demonstrated their modus operandi to be the same; if not worse.

  • Johan Buys says:

    In 2024 elections, do all parties appear on all ballots or only on wards they decided to contest?

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    The ANC won big in the Eastern Cape.!!!! Which proves that only morons are left because anybody with half a brain has already emigrated to the Western Cape , where having escaped from the ANC they vote ANC. GO FIGURE.

    • David Mitchley says:

      The only problem is that those who have moved into the Western Cape didn’t leave their support for the vile racist anc back in the Eastern Cape.
      They did move to the Western Cape because they wanted to, it is all part of the anc plan to takeover the Western Cape.

  • alison ellard says:

    I think the conversation about the succession of the Western Cape needs to become serious. The DA runs the Western Cape very well, but we will not be unaffected by the collapse of the rest of SA. We need foreign investment, a flourish economy, and control of our infrastructure and the spend of our tax money. Life here is going to become unbelievable expense the longer we are part of SA. w

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