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ANC shakes off challenge after independent candidate allies with EFF in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga

ANC shakes off challenge after independent candidate allies with EFF in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga
ANC supporters at the Elections Manifesto Review at Orlando Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Soweto, (Photo: Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

The ruling party managed a comfortable victory in Ward 3, Bushbuckridge, where the independent candidate — who snatched votes from both parties in the 2001 polls – had thrown in his lot with the red berets.

Ward 3 (Calcutta Mkhuhlu) Bushbuckridge, Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga: ANC 67% (56% *) EFF 32% (39% (Nonyane 35%+EFF 4%) PA 1%

The setting: Thousands of tourists make their way past Ward 3 regularly. The ward is just off the R536 regional road which links Hazyview with the Kruger Gate entrance to the Kruger National Park. The ward is west of Skukuza and is on the banks of the Sabie River. 

Bushbuckridge is the second-most populous municipality in Mpumalanga. It straddles the R40 regional road which links Hazyview with Hoedspruit. It includes Acornhoek, Dwarsloop and the eponymous Bushbuckridge. Ward 3 is on the southern edge of the municipality. Bushbuckridge municipality forms part of the vote-rich Ehlanzeni district, which includes the provincial capital Mbombela and Nkomazi. 

The 2021 local government elections: Independent candidate Jerry Nonyane shook up Ward 3, winning 35% of the vote. He did this by carrying the largest voting district, the Mbatini Primary School in Calcutta. Nonyane took votes from the ANC and the EFF on the ward ballot. 

The ANC won the remaining five voting districts comfortably. It garnered more than 70% of the vote in three voting districts and more than 60% in the remaining two. The EFF finished a distant third with 4%. 

It was one-way traffic on the proportional ballot, with the ANC winning 80% of the vote and the EFF a distant second with 10%. Only 36% of registered voters cast their vote on the PR ballot. There was a big gap between the ward ballot, where 42% of registered voters showed up compared with the proportional ballot. 

The ANC held Bushbuckridge in the local government elections, amassing 53 of the 76 available seats. The party did, however, lose four. The Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA), the former official opposition in Bushbuckridge, was decimated as it lost eight of its 10 seats. The two main beneficiaries of BRA’s collapse and the ANC’s slight decline were the EFF and the Independent South African National Civic Organisation (Isanco). The EFF became the official opposition as it grew from three to eight seats. Isanco won five. 

The by-election: Lot Nkuna was serving his second term as Ward 3 councillor. He was also a member of the mayoral committee. Nkuna was assassinated while sitting in his car. Another man was murdered and a third was wounded. Nkuna had been married for three months. 

Independent candidate Jerry Nonyane joined the EFF and was chosen as its candidate for the by-election. The Patriotic Alliance also tested the Bushbuckridge waters. The voters’ roll grew by 16% since the 2021 local government elections. 

The ANC won more than two-thirds of the vote in the by-election. It achieved this by improving its vote share in five of the six districts. Nonyane prevailed again in the vote-rich Mbatini Primary School district with 53% of the vote, but this was down from the combined total of 66% (63% was what he received as an independent) he and the EFF received in the district in 2021. The ANC jumped from 29% to 46% in the district. The Hoxani Tribal Centre is the second-most populous district in the ward. The ANC grew from 72% to 79%, while the EFF landed on 20%. This 20% was slightly down from the combined total of 24% Nonyane and the EFF garnered in 2021 (Nonyane won 20% and the EFF 4%). At Mapetekoane Primary School, the third-most vote-rich district in the ward, the ANC went from 71% to 78%, while the EFF and Nonyane saw their support fall to 22% from the combined total of 25% (Nonyane 18%) in 2021. 

The Makhosana High School voting district results were an outlier – here the ANC fell from 62% to 51%, while Nonyane and the EFF grew from 31% to 48%. 

If we had used the proportional ballot as our mode of comparison, the ANC’s support in the ward would have declined from 80% to 67%, while the EFF’s support would have surged from 10% to 32%. However, we combined their support as an indicator of previous support in the ward.*

Poll: 41% (42%).

The next by-election will be on 7 February when the IFP will defend a seat in the town of Vryheid in AbaQulusi. Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe will make its electoral debut. DM

* We used the combined percentage of Nonyane and the EFF’s total as the prior indicator for this by-election. If Nonyane had not been on the ballot, we would have used the proportional ballot as the prior indicator of respective support in the ward. This is a consistent practice in how we compare current results with prior results.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Bushbuck Ridge deserves the service delivery they voted for. No bellyaching about poor service delivery!

    • Random Comment says:

      The most recent online article regarding, “SERVICE DELIVERY PROTESTS IN BUSHBUCKRIDGE”, is dated 18-Jan-2023 (The Citizen).

      Make the by-election results makes sense, please

  • Mbulelo Journey says:

    This might be due to an oversight on my part but, so far I have not noticed a trend towards a large drop off in support for the ANC from the bi-election results. Though far from perfect I do tend to see bi-elections as possibly the strongest forward indicator for election (more so the local elections but still…) as unlike surveys etc. people are actually voting. The ANC would have to lose more than 7 percentage points to lose their outright majority, I’m yet to see that type of momentum in the by-election results.

  • Frank Fettig says:

    Must be great to live in such dire circumstances…

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    Common sense does not prevail when it comes to voter decisions like this.
    The power of the liberating party has not diminished in the minds of the majority.
    They will continue to vote ANC and although there will be protests about service delivery, that show of dissatisfaction is their way of saying. :We are not happy – do something to fix the problem,” It is not in the DNA of the ANC supporters to change their vote to a different party.
    Ramaphosa will use MK and other parties, as well as the ICJ with the Israeli issue, to spook the ANC supporters into believing that ‘external forces are trying to subvert the ANC government and we must unite to defeat these people.” Similar rallying calls as used during the Apartheid struggle will surface again and the comrades will be encouraged to support the revolution against the opposition parties and the ‘external forces’ who are trying to destroy the ANC which, you must remember, liberated you from Apartheid.
    And it will work.
    Accept that the ANC will still be running the show after the General Election.

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