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FEBRUARY BY-ELECTIONS

Zuma’s MK party snatches votes from ANC, IFP in fierce Zululand contest as it gives big parties another huge fright

Zuma’s MK party snatches votes from ANC, IFP in fierce Zululand contest as it gives big parties another huge fright
The ANC, along with the IFP, lost ground to the MK party in uPhongolo, KwaZulu-Natal. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw)

The uMkhonto Wesizwe party continued from where it left off in its recent debut by-election by taking votes off the IFP, and now the ANC, to give both established parties a fright in a marginal IFP seat in uPhongolo, KwaZulu-Natal. The IFP took a seat off the ANC in Newcastle, while the Patriotic Alliance trounced the DA in George in the Western Cape. In other by-elections, the DA held off GOOD in a spirited challenge in Theewaterskloof (Elgin), where Marius Fransman’s PMC party had a poor debut. The ANC had two good results in the north, while the DA was dominant in an Ekurhuleni seat.

KwaZulu-Natal

Ward 2 (Ncotshane) uPhongolo, Zululand: IFP 36% (48%) ANC 33% (43%) MK 28% EFF 2% (2%)

 

The setting: Ncotshane is northwest of Pongola, a few kilometres from the principal town in uPhongolo, lying between the N2 national road and the Eswatini border and the Onverwacht border crossing. The area is known for its sugar cane farming. It is the home municipality of former Bafana Bafana player Siphelele Ntshangase. uPhongolo is part of the Zululand district which includes Nongoma, Ulundi and Vryheid. 

The 2021 local government elections: The IFP beat the ANC by 111 votes in a close election. The IFP won the Simandlagentsha School District, where three-quarters of the voters in the ward cast their ballots, while the ANC won the less-populous Dwaleni High School district. 

The IFP took control of uPhongolo from the ANC after an outright win. It won 15 out of the 29 seats, up from 11 in the previous council. The ANC lost ground, dropping from 14 seats to 10. The National Freedom Party (two) and the EFF and the DA (one each) completed the seat allocation. 

The by-election: uPhongolo mayor and Ward 2 councillor Velephi Sikhosana resigned from both positions, but a few days later said it had not been her intention to quit and tried to reverse the resignation. She was not successful. She is not running in the by-election either. The big stir in the by-election lineup was the MK party which was hoping to continue its good run after winning just under 20% of the vote in a by-election debut in AbaQulusi (Vryheid). 

The IFP needed to retain the ward to keep outright control of the municipality. If it lost the seat it would depend on the DA to ensure it would keep the mayoral chain. 

Both the IFP and the ANC shed ground to the MK party as the IFP managed to retain this ward in a fierce three-party contest. The IFP won both voting districts to beat the ANC by 73 votes, down 38 from the 111-vote margin in 2021. The IFP beat MK by 203 votes. 

MK beat the ANC at the smaller Dwaleni High School district, which was carried by the ANC in 2021. The IFP and ANC pulled away from MK in the  Simandlagentsha school district, with the IFP getting 37% and the ANC 33%. MK recorded a gallant 26%. 

This is the second by-election in a row in Zululand where MK has made an impact on the established parties. It has now shown that it can not only take votes away from the IFP, EFF and NFP, but the ANC as well. Future by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal will give MK the opportunity to tackle the ANC in favourable ANC areas such as uMshwati (Wartburg) in the Midlands and uMzumbe (Mthwalume) in southern KwaZulu-Natal.

Poll: 50% (52%)

Ward 11 (Osizweni) in Newcastle, Amajuba: IFP 50% (27%) ANC 15% (38%) Team Sugar 15% (3%) EFF 13% (24%) Independent-Dlamini 6% Independent-Khumalo 1% WAYO <1% APF <1%

 

The setting: Osizweni is just more than 20km from Newcastle, east of the town centre. Newcastle is the largest municipality in the Amajuba District and is one of the key centres of economic activity in northern KwaZulu-Natal. It is known for its steelworks, cement industry and chrome chemical production. The Amajuba District also includes Dannhauser and eMadlangeni (Utrecht).

The 2021 local government elections: The final result in Newcastle was arguably the ANC’s worst in the province. It lost almost half its seats as the IFP, regional party Team Sugar and the EFF all ate into its impressive majority. The IFP grew from 11 seats to 18 and the EFF from five to eight, while Team Sugar made an impressive debut, winning seven, including two ward seats. The ANC fell from 40 to 22 seats. The IFP was able to win the mayoral chain with support from the EFF, Team Sugar, the DA, ActionSA and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+). Team Sugar walked away with the deputy mayorship, a position occupied by its leader, Musa Thwala. The IFP took the coveted speaker position. 

The ANC won Ward 11 by just more than 250 votes in a tough contest. It was pushed by both the IFP and the EFF. The ANC won two of the three voting districts. The margin of victory at Ndabanhle Primary School was key, as the ANC beat the EFF by more than 230 votes and the IFP by more than 290. The IFP won the most vote-rich district in the ward, but the margin was too slim to dent the big lead built by the ANC at Ndabanhle Primary.  

While the ANC retained the ward in 2021, its performance in Osizweni was emblematic of its performance overall in the municipality. In 2016, it won 66% of the vote in Ward 11, while the IFP won 20% and the EFF 10%. 

The by-election: The ANC ward councillor resigned. A crowded field set their sights on Newcastle. The ANC was joined on the ballot by the IFP, EFF and Team Sugar. There were also two independent candidates, a local party called the Women and Youth Organisation (WAYO) and a provincial party, African People First (APF). 

The IFP swept all three voting districts for an impressive win in Ward 11. Its vote share went from 33% to 57% at Thembalentsha High School, while the ANC’s support fell from 30% to 13%. The EFF too lost support, declining from 26% to 12%. Team Sugar went from 3% to 13%. At Ndabanhle Primary School, The IFP went from 15% to 41%, and the EFF slimmed from 22% to 17%. Team Sugar came third here with 16%, well up from its 2% in 2021. The ANC fell from first to fourth with 15%, after winning 50% in 2021.

At the smaller Osizweni Community Hall, the IFP had modest growth from 35% to 40%, while the ANC had a less-pronounced drop from 35% to 28%. Team Sugar went from 2% to 20%, while the EFF shrunk from 21% to 3%. 

The new seat allocation is ANC 21 (22) IFP 19 (11) Team Sugar 7 DA 5 Action SA 3 FF+ 1 NFP 1 PA 1 ATM 1 in the 67-seat council. The IFP has more breathing room as it can rely on the support of 35/67 councillors, as Team Sugar, DA, ActionSA and the FF+ support the IFP holding the mayoral chain. 

Poll: 52% (47%)

Western Cape

Ward 8 (Parkdene Ballotsview) in George, Garden Route: PA 63% (5%) DA 33% (37%) ANC 2% (4%) EFF 2% (<1%*)

 

The setting: Ward 8 is south of the George town centre, just above the N2 national road. It includes Parkdene and Ballotsview. George has the third-highest number of voters in the Western Cape and forms part of the Garden Route district which includes Oudtshoorn and Knysna. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA edged GOOD by 64 votes in this tussle. GOOD won a third of the vote to finish a strong second. Local party, Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (PBI), was third with 18% of the vote. 

Most of the voters in the ward are in Ballotsview. Here GOOD won the voting district, beating the DA by 70 votes. The DA won in Parkdene, which has just over a third of the voters in the ward. However, the DA beat GOOD by a margin of greater than two votes to one, and obtained 134 more than GOOD. 

The by-election: Former George mayor Bazil Petrus was excluded from the mayoral committee when the current mayor, Leon van Wyk, reshuffled his committee in late October. Petrus resigned as ward councillor less than a month after the reshuffle. A few days later he joined the PA. Petrus decided to not run for his old seat. The PA fielded a community leader as its candidate. 

In July 2023, GOOD lost all three of its ward seats, with the DA picking up two and the PA one. This was an outright DA win in George as its moved from 26 seats to 28 in the 55-seat chamber. The ANC has 10, the PBI five and the FF+ four. GOOD only had three seats after those by-elections. The PA moved to two, the same number of seats as the EFF, while the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) completed the allocation with a single seat. 

This was also the first by-election in George since PBI leader Virgil Gericke defected to the EFF and became a member of Parliament. The EFF was hoping to pick up some of the solid PBI support in this ward. GOOD decided to focus on the Theewaterskloof by-election and did not contest here. 

The PA routed the DA by more than 600 votes to win its second ward in George since the 2021 local government elections. The PA won over many GOOD and PBI voters and some DA and ANC voters to win the ward by a landslide and further establish itself as a significant player in George politics and a dark horse in the Western Cape in 2024.

At Parkdene Community Hall, the PA surged from 8% to 69%, while the DA matched its 29% from 2021. GOOD won 36% here in 2021 and PBI 20%. These voters went across to the PA. The ANC’s support halved in this district from 6% to 3%.

At the Parkdene Congregational Church, the PA went from a measly 1% to a staggering 57%, while the DA dropped from 49% to 39%. In 2021, GOOD got 27% in the district and PBI 16%. 

It was clear that in Parkdene, PBI support went to the PA and not to the EFF. Former PBI leader Vergil Gericke will have to work with his EFF colleagues to see how they can improve on attracting former PBI voters to the red berets in future contests.  

The new George council composition is DA 27 (28) ANC 10 PBI 5 FF+ 4 PA 3 (2) GOOD 3 EFF 2 ACDP 1-Total 55. This means the DA loses its outright majority and will rely on the FF+ again to ensure it governs in George. The FF+ is already part of the coalition and no changes to the make-up of the mayoral committee are expected. 

Poll: 54% (48%)

Ward 10 (Elgin Farms) Theewaterskloof, Overberg: DA 28% (51%) GOOD 26% (12%) PA 21% (12%) ANC 19% (19%) EFF 3% (2%) PMC 2%

 

The setting: Ward 10 is a rural ward southeast of Grabouw and south of Elgin. It sits next to the Peregrine Farm Stall on the N2 national road linking Somerset West with Elgin. Theewaterskloof includes Caledon, Riviersonderend and Villiersdorp. It is the closest non-DA-run municipality to the City of Cape Town. It forms part of the Overberg which includes Hermanus and Swellendam. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA swept all five voting districts for a convincing win in Ward 10. However, compared with 2016 both the DA and the ANC lost ground here, with the PA and GOOD taking chunks of their respective support. The DA still beat the ANC by more than 440 votes and the PA by more than 530.

The DA and ANC’s decline in this ward played itself out in the rest of the municipality. The DA lost three seats to fall to 11, and in turn lost its outright majority. The ANC lost two to fall to eight. GOOD won three and the PA two. The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP), FF+ and EFF won one seat each to complete the 27-seat council. The coalition negotiations saw the PA emerge with the mayoral chain, GOOD with the deputy mayor position and the ANC with the speaker position. The coalition also relied on the support of the SRWP. 

The by-election: Ward councillor Graig Smith defected to the PA. He decided to run for his old seat and finish the term. GOOD fielded the deputy mayor as its candidate. Former Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman’s People’s Movement For Change (PMC) chose this ward for its electoral debut. 

The DA was given a big scare in this by-election with GOOD falling 44 votes short. It only won one of the six voting districts, as GOOD took half of the districts in the ward, while the PA and ANC won a voting district each.

The DA edged GOOD with its solid second-place showings in the Dennegeur Primary School and the Fine Farms Community Hall districts. The DA was well down in these two districts from 2021 but GOOD could not make the needed gains here to neutralise the party. The PA won at Dennegeur Primary, surging from 9% to 40%, while the DA plummeted from 58% to 32%. GOOD finished behind the ANC with 6%, a percentage point down from 2021. At the Fine Farms Community Hall, the ANC went from 27%to 36% to take the district. The DA dropped from 46% to 32%, the PA slid from 16% to 12% and GOOD went from 5% to 15%.

The DA held the Whitehall Farms Community Hall district but was well off the 2021 pace. It went from 56% to 33%. GOOD jumped from 17% to 22% and the PA increased from 5% to 18%. The ANC all but matched its 2021 total of 17%. 

GOOD cut the DA down to size at Glen Elgin Sports Club, winning 41% of the vote, after obtaining 18% there in 2021. The DA could only manage 26% here after receiving 61% in the district in 2021. PA was third with 14%, after receiving 4% of the vote here in 2o21. GOOD took the Arieskraal Primary School district with 41%, after winning 8% in 2021. The PA and ANC tied for second with 19% each, with the PA growing and the ANC declining when compared with the local government elections. The DA declined from first to fourth with 15% after obtaining 39% in 2021. 

It was very close at Monteith Primary School, with GOOD taking the district with 29%, up from its 16% haul in 2021. The DA declined from 37% to 26% as the PA retreated from 28% to 20%. The ANC came third in this district with 21%.

It was a poor debut for Marius Fransman’s PMC party. It will hope that the recent defections to the party will help it do better in its next contest. 

Poll: 46% (37%)

Gauteng

Ward 25 (Bredell Brentwood Park) Ekurhuleni: DA 87% (66%) EFF 9% (11%) ANC 3% (3%) OHM <1% TRUTH <1%

 

The setting: This is the largest ward in Ekurhuleni. It is in the northeastern part of the metro and extends to the border of Tshwane near Bronkhorstspruit, and also borders Mpumalanga. There are many plots and smallholdings in this ward. Most of the voters here straddle the R23 road which links Benoni with the R21 road. Areas in the ward include Bredel which is part of the Kempton Park area of Ekurhuleni. Brentwood Park and Petit are more associated with Benoni and have the second- and third-highest number of voters. It was this part of the ward where Charlize Theron lived for a while during her Benoni years. The vast districts of Bapsfontein and Elandsfontein are known for farming. Serengeti and Eastlands are upmarket estates which complete the ward. There are relatively fewer voters in these two districts. However, many of the voters are concentrated around residential estates and turnout tends to be far higher here than in the other parts of the ward. 

The 2023 by-election: The DA lost some ground to the FF+ in this by-election. The FF+ more than doubled its support in the ward, from 9% to 19%. The FF+ grew in both Bredell and Brentwood Park. The EFF beat the ANC for third place as the red berets and their candidate, Lulu de Beer, hurt the ANC in Elandsfontein and Bapsfontein. 

The 2024 by-election: The new ward councillor resigned after six months. There were allegations of racism directed against him by the EFF for his actions at a public meeting. There was also widespread discontent from constituents. The FF+ sat out the by-election. The race for second place in the ward between the EFF and the ANC was expected to be the real contest. Conservative social activist Mehmet Vefa Dag’s Truth and Solidarity Movement (TRUTH) threw its name in the hat for its Gauteng electoral debut. 

The DA surpassed the combined percentage total of the DA and the FF+ in the previous by-election to give it a significant landslide win. Its best result was 99% of the vote at the Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate. It won more than 95% in two other districts. The EFF won the contest within the contest by beating the ANC again for second place in the ward. It won 70% of the vote in the Elandsfontein district. TRUTH had a poor Gauteng debut and will need to come up with a better plan for its Mpumalanga debut in a few weeks. 

Poll: 21% (26%)

Free State

Ward 11 (Kgotsong Bothaville) in Nala, Lejweleputswa: ANC 53% (57%) Ind-Tau 25% EFF 15% (33%) Ind-Mofokeng 7%

 

The setting: Kgotsong is the principal township in Bothaville. It is east of the Bothaville town centre. The town is the heart of the Free State maize belt and hosts the NAMPO show every year. Wesselsbron is the other key town in Nala. Nala forms part of the Lejweleputswa district. Welkom, Boshof and Hoopstad form part of the district.

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the EFF by 332 votes, winning both voting districts. The party might have won the ward, but lost its outright majority in Nala, with the council effectively hung. The ANC won 12 of the 24 available seats. The EFF carried the mantle of the official opposition with six seats, while the DA, the local Nala Community Forum (NCF) and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) won two each. The ANC was still able to get its candidate for mayor and speaker elected.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Zuma’s MK party makes strong debut in KZN – IFP retains Vryheid ward, but ANC gains

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC shakes off challenge after independent candidate allies with EFF in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga 

The by-election: Ward councillor Sootho Tau was expelled by the ANC for defying numerous party instructions and voting with the opposition. He was linked with Ace Magashule’s African Congress for Transformation. Tau decided to run for his old seat as an independent. He was joined on the ballot by the ANC, EFF and another independent candidate. The ANC needed to retain the seat to guarantee that it would hold onto its executive positions.

The ANC emerged from the Tau challenge largely unscathed. The party almost replicated its 2021 showing, with the EFF hurt far more by the two independents on the ballot. The ANC swept all three voting districts, with Tau pushing the ANC in the most vote-rich district. This was the first by-election in the Lejweleputswa district since 2021. The ANC will be content with this performance and that it is on track here for the national elections. 

Poll: 51% (41%)

North West

Ward 7 (Majakaneng) in Madibeng, Bojanala: ANC 80% (68% PR) EFF 17% (17% PR) IRC 2% (<1% PR) SARA 1%

 

The setting: Majakaneng is west of Hartbeespoortdam, near Mooinooi next to the N4 national road. Madibeng is the second-most populous municipality in the province. Its seat of power is the town of Brits. It forms part of the Bojanala District where Rustenburg sits. This is the heart of the platinum belt. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won both the ward and the proportional representation (PR) ballot by a landslide. The PR ballot is the ballot of comparison in this by-election as an independent candidate won 9% of the ward vote and decided to not contest this by-election. 

The ANC retained its outright majority in Madibeng. It lost two seats to finish on 44 in the 82-seat council. 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 previous ward councillor died. The ANC and EFF were joined on the ballot by former Johannesburg speaker Colleen Makhubele’s South African Rainbow Alliance (Sara), which made its electoral debut, and a regional party, the International Revelation Congress (IRC).

The ANC’s dominance in the Bojanala district in general and Madibeng in particular continued in this election as it won more than 80% of the vote. Its lowest district return was 76%. New party SARA will be disappointed with its meagre returns. 

With 13% of the province’s voters registered in Madibeng, and about 44% of the province’s voters registered in the Bojanala district, the ANC in North West will believe it is well on track for the North West elections this year. 

Poll: 32% (38% PR)

The next by-election will be on 28 February when the ANC defends a seat in Govan Mbeki, Mpumalanga. MK will make its Mpumalanga debut here. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024 Knowledge Base

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Henry Henry says:

    So the basic take away from this?: The MK making serious inroads in KZN; And the PA might unseat the DA in WC?

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      According to the charts yes but national elections might be completely different from the by-elections.
      It remains to be seen.

    • Gretha Erasmus says:

      I think the MK party and the ANC will make nice after the elections to form a coalition to keep the IFP /DA out of power post election. Mark my words. Both Zuma and now Fikile are frequent flyers to that great proponent of democracy and human rights . The Russian is not known for creating safe prosperous lives for his own subjects that he rules over but he is very experienced at how to manage the election propaganda machine.
      MK was created to give disaffected ANC voters a political home instead of the IFP or Action SA or Rise Mzanzi and a back door for disgruntled ANC members to get back via a coalition.
      What they are certainly not about is creating safe prosperous lives for all South Africans.

  • Jan Vos says:

    Here’s my prediction: No matter who “wins” this election, nothing will change – this country is waaay too deep down the drain to be saved.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      We have a lot of intelligent and capable minds educated even, if only they can convert their skills into numbers.
      I have a particular party in my mind and I am afraid by the time they make the numbers it might be too late but who knows what the future holds.
      Just thinking out loud.

  • ST ST says:

    The ANC must be regretting having defended Zuma over 10 years. Unless there’s a master plan to bring the comrades together in a coalition under the pretence of two separate parties. The fact that the ANC admitted to lying under oath in his support and no one is being investigated or arrested is still baffling to me…entrenched apathy?

  • Vic Mash says:

    What is wrong with Africa and it’s indigenous inhabitants?

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      shew, from the low base you operate off that surely is a real diss 😀

    • ST ST says:

      Plenty of literature (political, social sciences, geography etc. ) exist about Africa and its people. Read some. Try and stay away from the same ignorant stuff you’ve been filling your head with all your life. Godspeed.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Beats me how anybody can vote for the Good Party which in reality is ANC lite. PA is a coloured orientated Party with dubious very leadership.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      I have the same feeling that although PA leaders served their time in prison they kept their ill gotten gains and it might give a message that crime does pay.
      The DA was a home for the coloured community who felt abandoned by the ANC not sure what drove them to find comfort in the PA, if the economy was good it would be interesting to watch the unfolding dynamics in our politics but we need intergrity, intelligence and experienced leadership in these dangerous times.
      The ANC had 30 years and we are not any better if not worse off.

    • ST ST says:

      The fact that we define parties by race is one of core issue in SA after 30 years of so called rainbow nation. No wonder we have so many (‘party-by-issue’)..race, tribe, location, religion… you name it. Our politicians (and us) don’t seem able to flex our minds enough to create an inclusive SA

  • Mbulelo Journey says:

    Looking at by-election results vs the pollsters is quite an interesting sport. I tend to think by-elections paint a more accurate picture, hope a smart analyst will put together a holistic picture of what the by-elections are indicating across SA.

  • Gatiep Peterson says:

    Basically, the axis of corruption is winning.
    Our only hope really does seem like to be Cape Independence

  • Random Comment says:

    It is stunning that the ANC can still garner a single vote, let alone a majority, at local government level where, EVEN THE ANC ADMITS, it has been an abject and abysmal failure by any metric you wish to choose.
    Electricity
    Water
    Sewage
    Roads, Transport
    Rates and Taxes
    Bylaw enforcement
    Waste Management and refuse removal

    “The government you elect is the government you deserve” (Thomas Jefferson)

  • Citizen X says:

    Why on earth is he not in jail??? A disaster waiting to happen…AGAIN!!

  • Philip Machanick says:

    My main takeaway: all politics is local.

    Anyone who wants to do well nationally or provincially needs to have a strong campaign tailored to local issues that aims to win trust. This is why everyone and their dog is touring the country right now trying to sign up civics to their cause. I have had a few such approaches and other civics with a much bigger following than those that I work in confirm with me that they have been approached too.

    Why? Because politics-as-usual has lost so much trust that having trusted community leaders working for your cause is a huge win.

    This is a below-the-radar activity but if the news media keep an eye out for this, they will have a better chance at predicting where the election if going.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

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