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DECEMBER BY-ELECTIONS

eThekwini Ward 101 residents vote for the third time in three years to elect councillor

eThekwini Ward 101 residents vote for the third time in three years to elect councillor
Voters queue to vote at Mayville High School.(Photo: Chris Makhaye)

The ANC, EFF and IFP were all confident during a by-election in eThekwini’s Ward 101 on Wednesday, where residents haven’t had a permanent councillor since the incumbent was arrested for murdering his predecessor.

Puddles of sewage and the associated stench were overpowering in parts of eThekwini’s Ward 101 as voters joined queues to elect their new councillor in a by-election on Wednesday.

In Cato Crest informal settlement, huge piles of rubbish and waste were visible at most of the road corners, a symbol of the hardships faced by residents. 

Most of the voting stations opened on time at 7am sharp but there were not many voters. Despite the slow start to voting, political campaigners in their party regalia made their presence felt, with vans and trucks with loudspeakers moving around the ward, wooing voters.

The African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and African Transformation Movement (ATM) were the four parties fielding candidates in the by-election. 

Whichever of the four (male) candidates emerges victorious, his priority will have to be security for himself, as Ward 101 is arguably one of the most dangerous in South Africa in which to be a councillor.

Security was understandably very tight on Wednesday, with uniformed and plain-clothes police officers stationed in strategic places.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC confident of retaining eThekwini’s Ward 101 after councillor charged with assassinating his predecessor

Voters at Mayville High School. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

A voter leaves the voting station amid excited party campaigners in the background. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

A group of voters display where their loyalties lie after casting their ballot at the Westridge High voting station. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

Three years, three elections

Wednesday’s by-election was the third political contest to elect a councillor in the ward in less than three years. 

Days before the November 2021 local government elections, the then councillor and firm favourite to win the ward, Siyabonga Mkhize, was fatally shot alongside Mzukisi Nyanga, an ANC supporter, while they were campaigning in the area. One of Mkhize’s bodyguards sustained serious injuries when gunmen sprayed their 4×4 bakkie with automatic fire.

Mkhize’s photo was still on the ballot during the election and he won posthumously with 48% for the ANC, followed by the EFF with 16%, the DA (14%) and the African Christian Democratic Party (7%). The IFP got 6% and ActionSA polled 4%.

The 2022 by-election in the ward was won by the ANC’s Mzimuni Ngiba with a reduced majority for the party of 41%. Less than three months later, Ngiba was arrested and charged with killing his predecessor Mkhize. He was denied bail and is awaiting trial.

Until recently, Ngiba was receiving a full councillor’s salary while he was in jail.  

Wednesday’s by-election was to replace Ngiba.  

At 4pm on Wednesday, load shedding kicked in and many voters said they struggled to read the ballot paper in the dim light. 

The number of voters trickling into voting stations started picking up in the early afternoon. At 5pm, when people returned from their workplaces, there were growing queues of voters waiting to cast their ballots at all the voting stations.

Political parties are barred from campaigning in the voting precinct, but they continued to woo voters heading towards the voting stations. Outside the Mayville High voting station, campaigners from the ANC and IFP argued about this and police came to order anyone other than queuing voters and IEC representatives to move outside the precinct. 

A couple from Cato Crest informal settlement’s Area 1, Thoba and Zoliswa Vumisa, came side by side to vote at Westridge High.  

“First of all, it is our right to vote as citizens of South Africa. We came here to vote because we want change,” Thoba Vumisa said.

“We are tired of crime and politically related killing in this area. We want to live in a clean area, where rubbish is collected regularly and people have decent homes to live in. At the moment, people here live hard lives in subhuman dwellings. We came here to vote ANC,” he said.

ANC and IFP campaigners argue with each over electioneering inside the Mayville High voting station precinct. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

An IFP truck with loudspeakers calls for voters to go out and cast their votes. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

A taxi emblazoned in ANC colours brings voters to the Westridge High voting station. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

Candidates confident

Bheki Ntuli, the former ANC eThekwini regional secretary who is now an ANC KZN Provincial Executive Committee member, said: “The ANC has worked very hard since the campaign started. That is why we are certain that our candidate, Luluza Khanyile, will be the new councillor for this ward. 

“During our campaigns, people told us about the challenges they are facing, about the conditions they are living under, and the ANC will work hard to better their conditions.”  

Mandlenkosi Ntshangase, the IFP candidate in the ward, cast his vote at Mayville High just before 6pm. He told Daily Maverick he was upbeat about his chances of snatching the ward from the ANC.

“I believe that we, as the IFP, have done everything in our power to convince the voters to choose change. The voters know all the difficulties that we are faced with every day. People here are angry, people want change. If I win, I will bring that change,” he said.

Mduduzi Dlamini, the EFF candidate, also cast his ballot at Mayville High. He said his party was surprised at the support they had received in the ward.

“Our campaign as the EFF went very well, I have to say. I believe that we have won the soul of the people of Ward 101 through our vigilant campaign. I believe we will win this ward, but politics being what it is, anything can happen,” he said. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paul T says:

    The voter wants change, he’s tired of crime and grime, he is tired of pilitical killings. Yet he is voting for the ANC in a by-election after the ANC councilor was arrested for murdering his ANC predecessor. It makes no sense. Give the man a Darwin award please!

  • Denise Smit says:

    ANC/EFF inviting its members to vote for the next councilor to be assasinated . How scary. The police have to work undercover to protect the voters. What a violent situation the political forces in Kwa Zulu Natal

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