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OCTOBER BY-ELECTIONS

EFF snatches safe seat from ANC in Mpumalanga, Patriotic Alliance puts ruling party in a Kimberley hole

EFF snatches safe seat from ANC in Mpumalanga, Patriotic Alliance puts ruling party in a Kimberley hole
Patriotic Alliance members. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi) | EFF supporters. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | Delegates at an ANC meeting. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick) | The Electoral Commission in Pretoria on 11 May 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Yeshiel Panchia)|

The ANC lost two seats in the latest round of by-elections – a safe seat to the EFF in the small town of Breyten in Mpumalanga, and a competitive seat to the Patriotic Alliance in Kimberley. It did, however, retain two key seats in other Northern Cape by-elections, while the DA held two seats in the town of Klerksdorp.

Northern Cape

Ward 1 (Roodepan Platfontein) in Sol Plaatje, Frances Baard: PA 53% (25%) ANC 35% (32%) DA* 7% (25%) EFF 2% (1%) BOSA 1%  Ind-Martins 1% ACDP 1% (2%)

The setting: Ward 1 is a vast area in Kimberley, the provincial capital of the Northern Cape. It is north of the city centre and includes the working-class community of Roodepan and Platfontein. Platfontein is home to the !Xun and the Khwe communities. The ward includes the tourist landmark, the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre, on the road to Barkly West. 

The February 2023 by-election: The ANC prevailed in a tough four-horse race, beating the DA to second place, with the PA making major inroads to finish third. The ANC received 197 more votes than the DA and 213 more votes than the PA. A former ANC ward councillor running as an independent took votes away from the ANC in Roodepan to finish in a credible fourth place. 

The PA won both Roodepan voting districts, taking two of the three districts in the ward. The PA came stuck in Platfontein. It could not replicate its impressive returns in Roodepan. This allowed the ANC to retain the ward and also saw the DA finish second. The victory for the ANC allowed it to retain its outright majority in the municipality. 

The by-election: Ferguson Moses, the ANC ward councillor, defected to the PA four months after winning the by-election. He elected to stand again for the ward councillor position. This saw the PA fielding the same candidate it did in the February by-election. 

Another key development was the DA candidate standing down after nominations for candidates had closed for the by-election. The DA candidate abandoned the race and defected to the PA. It was the third DA candidate in 2023 to accept the party’s nomination and then defect to the PA. In two of those three cases, the candidate defected after nominations had closed, meaning that while the party remained on the ballot, it could not replace its candidate. The PA was expected to be the major beneficiary of the DA no longer fielding a candidate. The PA also knew that if it could improve its returns in Platfontein, it could take this ward from the ANC. 

The ANC was boosted by the independent candidate who hurt the party in the February 2023 by-election, electing to not stand again. There was another independent candidate on the ballot this time round. This was also the by-election debut for Mmusi Maimane’s Build One South Africa (BOSA) party. 

The PA beat the ANC by 568 votes as the party won its first by-election in the Northern Cape. The PA benefited from the DA’s candidate withdrawing from the race after the nomination period had closed. However, the PA also made strides in Platfontein, a part of the ward where they struggled in the by-election here earlier in the year.

The PA built on its strong showing in Roodepan in the previous by-election. At Lucretia Primary School it more than doubled its support, climbing from 29% to 61%. The DA still won 6% of the vote here to finish third in the district, but much of the 24% it won last time went to the PA. The PA also won over voters who backed the independent in the previous by-election. The ANC held steady at 29%. 

It was similar in the less-populated Roodepan voting district. At the NG Kerk, the PA surged from 29% to 57%. Its growth here was from the DA whose support fell from 21% to 9%, and the independent who was not on the ballot. The ANC made small gains in this district, growing from 24% to 26%. 

While the ANC grew in Platfontein, it was not enough to make up for the shortcomings in Roodepan. The ANC went from 47% to 50%. Platfontein voters from the DA broke for the PA as the latter leapt from 9% to 37%. Despite the DA not having a candidate, it still won 8% of the vote. 

BOSA finished fifth in its debut by-election, losing out to the EFF for fourth place. 

The ANC has now lost its outright majority. The new Sol Plaatje (Kimberley) council composition is: ANC 32 (33) DA 14 EFF 6 PA 4 (3) Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum 3 VF+ 3 GOOD 2 ACDP 1. Total: 65. 

The PA is now alone in fourth place with the most council seats in Sol Plaatje. 

The ANC is likely to turn to GOOD or the PA to keep control of Sol Plaatje, with GOOD starting as a slight favourite for preferred coalition partner. 

Poll: 55% (62%)

Ward 3 (Kakamas) Kai !Garib in ZF Mgcawu: ANC 38% (39%) Hope for the Future 29% (29%) DA 22% (20%) PA 7% (<1% PR) MRM 3% EFF 1% (1%)

The setting: Kakamas is the gateway town to the Augrabies Falls National Park. Sitting on the banks of the Orange River, it is known for its historic water wheels and irrigation canals. Grapes, lucerne, sultanas and the Collins Peach, the yellow clingstone peach found in most cans, are some of the produce farmed in this sweltering part of the country. The municipality of Kai ! Garib covers much of the Green Kalahari and includes Keimoes. It extends to quiver tree country as Kenhardt also falls into its border. 

The ZF Mgcawu district’s seat of power is in Upington. Postmasburg and Groblershoop fall in the district, which borders Namibia and Botswana. 

The 2021 local government elections: There was a fascinating result in Kai !Garib in 2021. The ANC only won 44% of the vote, but won 10 of the 19 seats in the municipality to win an outright majority. How did it do this? It won all 10 wards, holding off local party Hope for the Future (HFTF) and the DA in each ward. HFTF would emerge as the official opposition in Kai !Garib with its four-seat haul. The DA fell to third with three. 

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

Ward 3 was an example of this. The ANC won less than 40% of the vote, while there were two other parties which exceeded 20% of the vote. The ward has three voting districts. Close on 70% of the voters cast their votes in the Kakamas High School voting district, in the Langverwag part of the town. Turnout was very high here in 2021 – just under two-thirds of registered voters. The ANC beat HFTF by 10% points and the DA finished a distant third. By winning this district, the ANC carried the ward. The EFF and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) won one seat each. 

It was between the DA and the FF+ in the Hoërskool Martin Oosthuizen voting district. Twenty-five percent of voters are in this district. The turnout was comparatively much lower here than at Kakamas High School, with only 46% of registered voters showing up. The ANC also carried the more rural Ebenaeser Boerdery voting district, beating the DA, which finished just ahead of HFTF. This district contains about 5% of the registered voters. 

In the final analysis, the ANC beat HFTF by 206 votes and the DA by 396 votes.

The by-election: The reason for the by-election is that the young ward councillor died in a car accident. The ANC, HFTF and the DA were joined on the ballot by the PA, the EFF and a new formation, the Municipal Residents Movement. The FF+ came fourth here in 2021 with 7% of the vote. It did not stand in the by-election. 

The ANC retained the ward with all three of the largest parties in the ward coming close to replicating their returns from 2021. More than 67% of registered voters turned out in the Langverwag part of the ward. The results in this district were indicative of the final rankings in the ward. The ANC was pushed by HFTF, with the DA a distant third and the PA fourth. 

Turnout was lower in the other two districts. The DA was able to get FF+ voters to support it in the Kakamas town voting district, but the turnout there was 20% lower than in Langverwag. 

The ANC won the small rural Ebenaeser Boerdery voting district by a landslide. It grew from 41% to 68%, taking support from HFTF.

The ANC retains its outright majority in this competitive municipality. 

Poll 61% (59%)

Ward 6 (Schmidtsdrift Mokala) Siyancuma in Pixley Ka Seme: ANC 50% (62%) EFF 28% (7%) Ind-Balepile 22%

The setting: Ward 6 is a large, rural ward east of Douglas, between Douglas and Kimberley. It includes the small village of Schmidtsdrift, farms, games lodges and rural settlements. Most of the voters are in Schmidtsdrift. The ward also includes the Mokala National Park. Siyancuma’s seat of power is the town of Douglas. This is the confluence of the Orange and Vaal rivers. Griekwastad and Campbell are also part of Siyancuma. Siyancuma is in Pixley Ka Seme which includes De Aar, Colesberg and Prieska. 

The 2021 local government elections: There was also a unique result in this municipality in 2021. The ANC won 52% of the vote but lost its outright majority. Two wards were won by independent candidates from an informal grouping called Siyancuma Independents. The candidates ran as independents. This meant that you could only vote for them on the ward ballot because the Siyancuma Independents did not run as a political party and they were not on the proportional representation (PR) ballots. 

The ANC lost two seats in the municipality to fall one seat short. It won six out of 13 seats. The two independents worked with the DA, the FF+ and the EFF to oust the ANC. Well-known septuagenarian farmer Wim van Bergen was elected mayor, with the DA winning the speaker’s position. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC’s shock by-election loss to IFP in KZN spells danger for party ahead of 2024 — analysts

The ANC won this ward easily, taking six of the eight voting districts and more than 80% of the vote in the two Schmidtsdrift districts. The DA was second with 18% and the FF+ third with 12%. There was no independent in this ward election.

The by-election: The EFF decided to ditch its support for the independents and its other coalition partners, instead backing the ANC with a motion of no confidence. While the motion passed, there were questions about its procedural correctness. This means that going into the by-election there was no mayor. 

The by-election was necessitated by the death of the ward councillor. The ANC and EFF were joined on the ballot by an independent candidate, while the DA and FF+ sat this by-election out. Former mayor Van Bergen’s independent grouping endorsed the independent candidate on the ballot. This candidate is the brother of the deceased ANC councillor. The husband of the late ANC councillor also endorsed the independent. 

The ANC lost ground but retained the ward. Again it won five of the eight voting districts. The party ran up the numbers in two of the rural farm districts. Olierivier and Vaallus were the second- and third-most vote-rich areas on election day. In both districts the ANC increased its vote share and won more than 76% of the vote. 

The ANC ran into trouble in Schmidtsdrift, where it carried the more sparsely populated district but lost the largest one, as well as losing the overall Schmidtsdrift vote to the EFF. This was not enough for the ANC to lose the ward, but it would be an encouraging sign for the EFF on the road to 2024. Just under half of the ward’s valid votes were cast at the one Schmidtsdrift voting station. The EFF won 48% of the vote here, well up from 13% in 2021. The ANC fell from 85% to 36%. 

The independent candidate won two of the eight voting districts but was not able to attract enough of the DA and FF+ voters from 2021. The turnout was down in the districts where the DA and FF+ did best in 2021. 

The EFF struggled in all but one of the districts beyond Schmidtsdrift. The independent candidate lagged behind there. Unlike the ANC, the EFF and the independent could not produce enough consistent results across the ward.

The hold for the ANC means it can now fill the vacancy, and with the support of the EFF, the parties have the numbers to secure an ANC mayor and a speaker, either from the ANC or the EFF. 

Poll: 47% (46%)

North West

Matlosana, Kenneth Kaunda

The setting: The respective seat of Matlosana and Kenneth Kaunda district is Klerksdorp. Klerksdorp is where these two by-elections took place. Matlosana also includes Orkney, Stilfontein and Hartbeesfontein. The Kenneth Kaunda district extends to Potchefstroom and Wolmaransstad.

The two by-elections: Two DA councillors decided to resign as councillors together to allow for their party to consolidate resources and run the by-elections in one day. The pair remain supporters of the party they represented in council.

Ward 16 (La Hoff Klerksdorp) in Matlosana, Kenneth Kaunda: DA 67% (65%) FF+ 22% (24%) ANC 8% (6%) EFF 3% (3%)

The setting: Ward 16 is north of the city centre and the N12 national road which runs through Klerksdorp. It sits above the Chris Hani Road which links with the R30 road and connects Klerksdorp with Ventersdorp. It contains two suburbs-La Hoff and Flimieda. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA beat the FF+ by more than 40 percentage points in the election. It did however lose ground in the ward to the FF+. The DA won just under 70% of the vote in Flimieda and 63% of the vote in La Hoff. The FF+ managed 24% in both districts.

The by-election: The DA and FF+ were joined on the ballot by the ANC and the EFF. 

The by-election had a similar pattern to the 2021 results, with the DA making gains in the Flimieda voting district, winning 72% of the vote, up from 69%. The FF+ fell just short of replicating its 2021 returns in both districts. 

Poll: 40% (61%)

Ward 17 (Wilkoppies Klerksdorp) in Matlosana, Kenneth Kaunda: DA 70% (62%) FF+ 26% (28%) ANC 3% (6%) EFF 1% (2%)

The setting: Wilkoppies and Doringkruin are northwest of Ward 16, slightly further away from the town centre, on the outskirts of the town. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA’s returns were not as handsome in Ward 17 as they were in Ward 16, while the FF+ performed better in this ward than in Ward 16. While the DA got more than 60% of the vote in the two Wilkoppies districts, it only won 58% in Doringkruin. In Doringkruin, the FF+ won 29%.

The by-election: The same four parties were on the ballot as Ward 16. The DA was the only party to grow in the by-election, improving its position in each of the three voting districts from 2021. In Doringkruin it climbed from 58% to 67%, and in Wilkoppies from 62% and 67% to 73% in both districts. The FF+ ceded slivers of ground in all three of the districts. 

Poll: 35% (61%)

Mpumalanga

Ward 13 (Breyten) in Msukaligwa, Gert Sibande: EFF 60% (31% PR) ANC 39% (63% PR) ACDP 1% (<1% PR)

The setting: Breyten is north of Ermelo and has a direct link to Chrissiesmeer via the R542 regional road and Carolina via the R36 regional road. Breyten is a coal-mining and farming area. Msukaligwa’s principal town is Ermelo and also includes Lothair, Davel and Chrissiesmeer. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the EFF by a margin greater than two votes to one. The ANC got more than 70% of the vote in the Kwazanele township voting district. It was more competitive in the town of Breyten where it won 54% of the vote, while the EFF received 38%. The turnout was pitiful in this ward, at just 25%.

The ANC lost ground in Msukaligwa, losing five seats to win 24 of the 38 seats. The EFF was the main beneficiary here, winning four additional seats to get seven. The remaining seats were shared between the DA, the FF+ and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). 

The by-election: The councillor died. The ANC and EFF were joined by the ACDP on the ballot. The EFF wanted to build on its impressive showing in the last round of by-elections in Maquassi Hills, North West and Blouberg in Limpopo. 

The EFF caused a seismic upset in this safe ANC seat by winning it off the ruling party. The EFF came close to doubling its percentage in the ward. 

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

The EFF won both voting districts. In the town of Breyten, it went from 38% to 61%, while the ANC shrunk from 54% to 38%. In KwaZanele, the EFF jumped from 25% to 56%, with the ANC falling from 72% to 44%. 

In the final analysis, the EFF beat the ANC by 293 votes. The party has backed up its long-shot win in Maquassi Hills with another big win in Mpumalanga. 

The New Msukaligwa council composition is: ANC 23 (24) EFF 8 (7) DA 4 VF+ 2 ACDP 1. Total: 38

Poll: 41% (25%)

Next elections

The next round of by-elections will feature contests in the metros of eThekwini and Ekurhuleni, and two in Mpumalanga. Seats change hands in three of the four wards. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Clare Yeowell says:

    How can it be allowed that a candidate nominated by a particular party debunks to another party after the nominations have closed, and before the election, thus preventing the original party from fielding a candidate? It seems like a pre-meditated act to me, and the most egregious form of political manipulation. Three times from the DA to the PA??

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      It’s a loophole that needs closing. It does, however, also expose the DA’s “Any Candidate Will Do” selection process in many parts of the country where it has thin-to-nonexistent structures in place.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    Kimberley is a shit hole. No pun intended.

    Whilst conducting market research in is townships for a client in 2015 I remember returning to my rental car and breaking down in tears.

    The utter hopelessness of those ANC-built townships was beyond anything I was able to handle seeing. Thousands of people displaced into the middle of nowhere with absolutely ZERO hope or future… just vote fodder and nothing more.

    Yes… those people are ACTUALLY still voting for the ANC?

    I mean, the EFF are patently and obvisouly a group of self serving liars and criminals, but with zero track record at least it’s a change and something new, possibly, maybe.

    The PA I fully understand. New campaigning, new ideas and new faces.

    BUT

    The fact that such a large portion of that population STILL votes for the ANC, when the average age is 28 and the ANC has ruled for longer than that… the mind boggles. To have had something so bad your ENTIRE life and, when given an opportunity, to vote for more of it?

    It’s like being born in a prison and even though you know where the keys are kept, and even though you can SEE out the windows to the blue skies and the fields beyond, you choose to stay in the prison because it’s all you know.

    Sad doesn’t come close. The condition that these people vote to remain in is not even describable as living, it is barely even survival and it certainly isn’t a human life any more.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      Well said. And while it sticks in the craw to say this, frankly, they can stew in their own juice for their stupidity. Mind you, at the same time that stupidity has been fuelled by the ANC’s useless governance particularly on education (building on the previous Bantu Education stupidity) to the extent that I can understand your tears. There really is no hope for this country except the Western Cape, which itself is being flooded out by the refugees from the ANC’s corrupt incompetence in the Eastern Cape.

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