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DECEMBER BY-ELECTIONS

ANC silences eThekwini and southern KZN critics while IFP makes pronounced gains in provincial north

ANC silences eThekwini and southern KZN critics while IFP makes pronounced gains in provincial north
A group of voting delegates arrives at the ANC Ethekwini region conference at the ICC in Durban in high spirits, singing ANC songs Picture: Mandla Langa

The African National Congress notched up big respective wins in eThekwini and in a southern KwaZulu-Natal by-election, but lost a key ward in northern KwaZulu-Natal to the Inkatha Freedom Party. The ANC also retained a ward in the West Rand in the final round of by-elections for 2023. 

Ward 101 (Mayville Westridge) in eThekwini: ANC 67% (41%) IFP 23% (13%) EFF 7% (20%) ATM 2% AFR 1% (2%)

The setting: This is a large, sprawling ward west of the Durban city centre on the edge of Berea. Much of the natural border of the ward is the Umbilo and Mkhumbane rivers. Famous landmarks include the Westridge Tennis Stadium, the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus and the Msinsi Nature Reserve which protects natural Durban grassland. The ward includes the suburbs of Manor Gardens and Carrington Heights. 

The 2022 by-election: Siyabonga Mkhize, the ANC candidate for the ward, was shot dead while campaigning just before the 2021 local government elections. Mkhize’s name remained on the ballot and the ANC won the ward. A vacancy was declared after the elections and voters in the ward went back to the polls in February 2022. The ANC retained the seat but lost ground to the IFP and the EFF. The ANC was able to win more than 50% of the vote at Mayville Secondary School and Westridge High School. Mayville Secondary is the most vote-rich part of the ward, with just under 40% of registered voters residing there. The EFF bagged 29% of the vote at Mayville Secondary School — its best result in the five voting districts. 

The DA came second in the ward with 22%, benefiting from the absence of a local Durban party, the Active Citizens Coalition (ACC), and ActionSA. This resulted in the DA obtaining more than 80% of the vote in Manor Gardens and Carrington Heights. 

Mzi Ngiba was duly elected as the new ANC councillor for the ward.

Read more in Daily Maverick: eThekwini Ward 101 residents vote for the third time in three years to elect councillor

 

The 2023 by-election: Three months after winning the ward, councillor Ngiba was arrested in connection with the murder of the former councillor Siyabonga Mkhize. Ngiba was kept in jail for more than a year, on full pay, until he was finally expelled from council and a vacancy was declared in the ward. The DA joined the ACC and ActionSA in sitting out this by-election. A factor going into this election was whether DA and ActionSA voters in the ward would get behind the IFP. 

The election also took place after the academic year had ended at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and student participation was expected to be extremely low. 

The ANC silenced its eThekwini critics with an easy win, with an increased majority in Ward 101. The win was built on big growth at the Cato Crest Community Hall in Mayville. The ANC moved from 54% to 73% in this district, while the EFF fell from 29% to 8%. At the Westridge High School, the ANC surged from 52% to 76%, while the EFF shrunk from 19% to 8% and the IFP declined from 20% to 13%. The ANC had almost double the success while the opposition double-faulted at the Westridge Park Tennis Stadium voting district. The ANC went from 37% to 71%, while the EFF stumbled from 17% to 5%. 

The IFP won the two districts won by the DA in the previous election here. In Manor Gardens, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Sports Field district, the IFP won 82% of the vote after getting 5% here in 2022. The DA won 84% of the vote in this district in 2022. In Carrington Heights, the IFP took 64% of the vote after only getting 2% here in 2022. The DA received 84% of the vote in this district in 2022. The EFF had growth in Carrington Heights. They jumped from 4% to 17% in this part of the ward. Differential voter turnout was well down in Carrington Heights and Manor Gardens. This was a factor in contributing to the ANC’s wide win in Ward 101. 

Poll: 20% (16%)

Ward 11 (KwaMkhize KwaMankonjane) iNkosi Langalibalele in uThukela: IFP 56% (37%) ANC 41% (54%) EFF 3% (3%)

The setting: This is a rural ward, southwest of Estcourt, the seat of power in iNkosi Langalibalele. The villages of KwaMkhize and KwaMankonjane are close to the Maloti-Drakensberg Park and towards the Lesotho border. Famous landmarks next to the ward are Highmoor and Giant’s Castle in the Maloti-Drakensberg. Other towns in the municipality include Weenen and Frere. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won five of the eight voting districts in the ward, with the IFP winning the other three. The ANC won more than 50% of the vote in the two most populous voting districts, and more than 60% in the third-most vote-rich district, prevailing over the IFP by 339 votes. 

The IFP won the mayoral chain after the elections with the support of the DA and the initial support of the EFF. The IFP mayor had the backing of 26/47 councillors as the IFP won 21 seats, the DA three and the EFF two. The ANC was the second-largest party with its 17-seat haul. The National Freedom Party (NFP) won three seats and an independent councillor, Sihle Ngwenya, won a ward seat. 

The by-election: The by-election was triggered because the ANC ward councillor resigned from the council. This is the first by-election in the municipality since June when the IFP had to defend three seats. On that day it lost one seat to the ANC and was run very close in another ward. The IFP was desperate to reverse the loss from June, since that seat loss meant it and the DA only controlled 23/47 seats in the municipality, while the ANC, NFP and EFF also controlled 23/47 seats. The current kingmaker in the municipality is the independent councillor Sihle Ngwenya. 

The voters’ roll increased by 9% for this by-election. The IFP reversed the loss from June with a comprehensive win. The IFP swept all 8 voting districts and won more than 50% of the vote in 7 out of the 8 voting districts. It was only at the vote-rich Thibani Primary School where the ANC really pushed the IFP. The IFP won 48% of the vote here, up from 34%, while the ANC fell to 47% from 59%. At, Mankonjane Primary School, the second most populous voting district, the IFP won 61% of the vote, well up from the 40% they received in 2021, while the ANC slid from 52% to 36%. 

The IFP ended up winning the ward by 358 votes after losing it by 339 votes in 2021. This gain for the IFP means that the independent councillor Sihle Ngwenya is no longer the kingmaker in the municipality. The IFP just have to rely on the DA to ensure they keep the mayoral chain here. The revised seat allocation sees the IFP 21 (20) + DA 3 having a majority of the seats in the 47-seat council. The ANC fall to 17 seats from the 18 they had before the by-election. The EFF (3) and the NFP (2) takes them to 22 seats. The remaining seat belongs to the independent councillor, Sihle Ngwenya. 

Poll: 52% (49%)

Ward 23 (Boboyi Dujazana) Ray Nkonyeni in Ugu: ANC 91% (84%) EFF 7% (9%) IFP 2% (2%) AFR 1%

The setting: Boboyi is west of the town of Port Shepstone on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Ward 23 straddles the N2 national road. Ray Nkonyeni is the largest municipality in Ugu. It includes Port Shepstone and Margate and extends from Hibberdene to Port Edward.
The Ugu district includes towns like Hibberdene, Margate, Scottburgh and Harding. Its seat of power is in Port Shepstone.

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC routed the opposition in this ward, winning more than 80% of the vote in four of the five voting districts. No other party got into double figures, with the EFF finishing in a clear second place. 

The ANC retained its outright majority in the 71-seat Ray Nkonyeni council. However, it lost 10 seats, moving from 47 to 37. The main beneficiaries were the EFF (two seats to seven) and the IFP (five seats to eight). The DA remained the official opposition as it held steady on 14 seats. Five other parties won a single seat. 

The by-election: The previous ward councillor died after being admitted to hospital for an illness. This is the first by-election in Ray Nkonyeni since the ANC lost ground in a safe seat to the IFP in March 2023. The IFP also hurt the EFF in that by-election to finish a solid second in that by-election. 

The ANC sent a warning to the opposition that southern KwaZulu-Natal in general and the Ugu district in particular remains a firewall for the ANC in the province. They dismantled the opposition in a by-election which had more voters participate in the by-election than the previous local government elections. The ANC won over 90% of the vote in 3 of the 5 voting districts. No opposition party got more than 10% of the vote in any of the voting districts. 

Poll: 41% (38%)

Gauteng

Ward 17 (Zuurbekom) Rand West City in West Rand in Gauteng ANC 52% (52%) EFF 32% (21%) PA 18% (8%*)

The setting: Ward 17 is on the outskirts of Westonaria. It includes Waterpan which is south of the town of Westonaria and extends to an area next to Lenasia, below Protea Glen. The ward straddles the N12 national road between Westonaria and Soweto. Most voters live in Zuurbekom which sits above the N12. Rand West City includes Randfontein, Bekkersdal and Westonaria. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC swept all three voting districts. It won 53% of the vote in the vote-rich Zuurbekom School district. Here an independent candidate Andile Msimang hurt the ANC and the EFF by winning 12%. The EFF did best at the Zuurbekom School with 23%. The ANC was pushed by the DA in the Ancient of Days Royal Church voting district, right next to Lenasia. 

The ANC lost its outright majority in Rand West City in 2021. It won 32 out of the 69 available seats. It formed a coalition with the Patriotic Alliance (PA), which won two seats, and African Independent Congress (AIC), which obtained a single seat. This gave the coalition 35/69 seats. The DA won 16 seats to finish second and the EFF came third with 11. The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) came fourth by bagging three seats. The rest of the parties have one seat each.

The by-election: The ward councillor died after being admitted to hospital with an illness. The ANC and the EFF were joined on the ballot by the PA. Andile Msimang, the independent councillor who garnered 8% support in the ward, joined the PA and was selected as its candidate.

In June 2022, the EFF shocked the ANC in a seat in Holomisa, Bekkersdal. The ANC fell to 31 seats, and needed to bring in the Randfontein People’s Party (RPP) into the coalition to ensure it kept on governing in Rand West City.

The ANC lost no ground in this by-election and retained the ward getting over 50% of the vote. They were also the only competing party in the by-election to not exhibit growth. Both the EFF and the PA grew by more than 10% points when considering the 2021 data. 

The ANC increased their percentage share of the vote in both Zuurbekom and Waterpan. The ANC saw their vote share go up from 53% to 59% at the relatively vote rich Zuurbekom School district. The ANC did however cede the voting district next to Lanseria to the EFF. At the Ancient of Days Royal Church district, the EFF surged from 17% to 60%, with the ANC falling from 47% to 31%. 

The PA was expected to do best in Zuurbekom as this is where Msimang did best in 2021. Msimang did better in Zuurbekom as a PA candidate than as an independent as the vote share increased from 12% to 21%. 

Poll: 29% (32%)

Next by-elections

This is the last by-election for 2023. By-elections will resume on 17 January 2024, when the DA will defend a ward in Ladybrand in the Mantsopa municipality in the Free State. DM

* Due to the independent candidate running previously, his previous percentage is used as the prior comparison for the PA.

 

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