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APRIL BY-ELECTIONS

Patriotic Alliance shocks ANC, DA in Western Cape wards, local party bags historic win

Patriotic Alliance shocks ANC, DA in Western Cape wards, local party bags historic win
Patriotic Alliance supporters in Dysselsdorp, about 30km from Oudtshoorn, before the by-election on 24 April 2024. (Photo: Suné Payne)

It was a tumultuous night in the penultimate round of by-elections before the national elections on 29 May as five of the 11 wards changed hands.

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) gave the DA and the ANC much cause for concern in the Western Cape when it won wards off both parties in by-elections, and came close to shocking the ANC in Clanwilliam as well, in a ward that was won by a local party, Cederberg Eerste (CE). The ANC took a Polokwane ward off the EFF, while the DA won a ward off the ANC in the small town of Pearston in the Eastern Cape. 

Turnout was also higher in seven out of the 11 by-elections compared with the last elections in these wards. Voters were enthusiastic to show up this time. 

The three highly anticipated by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal were postponed until June. The KZN MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, did not proclaim the elections. 

Western Cape

West Coast District

The West Coast District accounts for about 6% of the Western Cape’s voting population. It includes towns like Saldanha Bay, Moorreesburg and Vredendal. Swartland is the second-most populous municipality in the district, while Cederberg is the least populated.

Ward 11 (Malmesbury Wesbank) Swartland, West Coast: PA 40% (3%) DA 39% (45%) Ind-Jaanse 11% (12%) ANC 5% (20%) Ind-Geduld 4% EFF 1% (2%)

 

The setting: Wesbank is west of the town centre of Malmesbury. It sits below the R315 road which links Malmesbury with Darling. Swartland also includes Moorreesburg and Riebeek-Kasteel. The area is known for its wheat farming and wine farms. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA beat the ANC by more than two votes to one in the ward but were unable to win more than 50% of the vote. The DA and the ANC were all affected by independent candidate and local pastor Moos Jaanse who won 12% of the vote. Jaanse finished fourth behind the FF+ which came third in the ward with 15% of the vote. 

The DA received 423 more votes than the ANC and 715 more votes than the Patriotic Alliance (PA). 

On the proportional ballot (PR), the DA won 49% of the vote, with the ANC obtaining 23%. The FF+ took bronze with 15%. The PA did better on the PR ballot with its 5% total.

The DA won 14/23 seats, shedding two to the FF+. The ANC remained the official opposition with five seats, down from six. It lost a seat to GOOD. EFF retained its seat in the council.

The by-election: The two-term ward councillor died after a short illness. The DA fielded octogenarian, former ward councillor  and former deputy mayor Maude Goliath as its candidate. The PA was quick out of the starting blocks, knowing it came very close to shocking the DA in a recent Swartland by-election. The ANC and EFF also threw their names into the hat. Two independent candidates, including Jaanse, and FF+ activist Sharon Geduld completed the field. The voters’ roll grew by 4% since the 2021 local government elections. 

The PA shocked the DA here to win its first seat to date on the Swartland council. It edged out the DA by 28 votes. The party achieved this remarkable win by winning the most-populous voting district by 116 votes. Its vote share at the Indoor Sports Centre voting district catapulted from 3% to 43%, while the DA dropped from 45% to 35%. The ANC fell from 22% to 5% here. Turnout was also higher at the Indoor Sports Centre compared with the smaller Wesbank Community Hall district.

The DA beat the PA by 88 votes at the Wesbank Community Hall, with the party making small gains to move from 46% to 49%. The big gains were made by the PA which went from 2% to 33%. The PA’s gains here were largely off the FF+, which was not on the ballot, the ANC and GOOD. GOOD was not on the ballot either. The ANC fell from second place to fourth in the ward.

The PA overturned a 715-vote deficit in 2021 to upend the DA by 28 votes. Swartland was historically the blue wall for the DA in the Western Cape. The PA made a significant breach in this by-election.

The new council composition is DA (13) 14 ANC 5 FF+ 2 PA 1 (0) GOOD 1 EFF 1. Total: 23

2024 election indicator caveat: The FF+ came third here in 2021 but did not contest this by-election. There were two independent candidates on the ballot who will not feature in the general election. 

Poll: 48% (40%)

Oudtshoorn by-elections

Residents of Ward 9 in Oudtshoorn on their way to vote for a new councillor on 24 April 2024. (Photo: Suné Payne)

Ward 3 (Clanwilliam) in Cederberg, West Coast: Cederberg Eerste 39% (35%) PA 36% (7%) ANC 23% (40%)  EFF 2% (3%)

 

The setting: Clanwilliam is the seat of the Cederberg municipality and the Rooibos tea capital of the world. The town is known for its dam on the outskirts of the town and is a gateway to the spring flower spectacle. Ward 3 is relatively diverse. The municipality includes Wupperthal, Citrusdal and Lambert’s Bay. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat local party Cederberg Eerste (CE) by 152 votes in a close contest. The ANC beat CE by just more than 500 votes at the Cathy Johnson Hall voting district, where the coloured and black residents of the ward mostly reside. This district accounts for more than 80% of the ward’s voters. CE won the NG Kerk Hall voting district in the town by just more than 350 votes. This district is where most of the white voters in the ward live. CE won over many DA voters in this district. The ANC finished fourth in this district behind the DA and the FF+.

The DA finished a distant third in this ward with 10% of the vote. The FF+ was on par with the EFF with its 3% total. 

The ANC lost control of the municipality in 2021, with the loss of two of its six seats. CE came second with three seats. The DA lost half of its seats to finish on two, while the PA and the FF+ debuted in the council chambers with one seat each. The CE, DA and FF+ formed a coalition, with CE leader Dr Ruben Richards becoming mayor.

The by-election: Maxwell Heins, the ward councillor and former speaker, resigned from the ANC. He was expected to join Marius Fransman’s People’s Movement for Change (PMC) but defected to CE. The DA and FF+ did not field a candidate in the by-election. The ANC and PA were joined by the EFF on the ballot. The PA made inroads in a DA ward in Lambert’s Bay in 2021 and was hoping to build on that momentum. The voters’ roll grew by 8% since the local government election.

Heins and the CE won this ward off the ANC to give the CE a historic achievement, its first ward gain in a by-election. It did not have it easy as the PA almost ran the party very close in this by-election. The CE beat the PA by 92 votes, with the ANC falling to third place. 

The CE won the smaller NG Church Hall voting district by a landslide. This voting district is majority white, with some coloured voters. The CE moved from 65% to 87%, with the PA growing from 2% to 7%. The ANC’s support halved from 10% to 5%. The CE’s 460-vote margin over the PA would be pivotal in its win. 

More than 80% of the ward’s voters vote at the Cathy Johnson Hall. The district is mainly coloured but has a significant number of black voters. The PA went from 7% to 43%, with the CE barely increasing its vote share as it went from 27% to 28%. The ANC fell from 48% to 27% here. The PA’s impressive 382-vote advantage over the CE was just not enough to win this ward and make a clean sweep of all Western Cape wards in this round of by-elections. Maxwell Heins will now finish his term as a ward councillor in CE colours. 

Cederberg Eerste is now the largest party in Cederberg. CE 4 (3) ANC 3 (4) DA 2 FF+ 1 PA 1. Total: 11. The governing coalition of CE, DA and FF+ has a bigger buffer now in the Cederberg. The CE could, in theory, govern here without the FF+ now. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The CE will not be contesting the general election. The DA came third here in 2021 but did not contest this by-election. Marius Fransman’s PMC was not on the ballot either. 

Poll: 53% (56%)

Patriotic Alliance

Patriotic Alliance members during the tightly contested by-elections in Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn, on 24 April 2024. (Photo: Suné Payne)

Garden Route District

This is the third-most populous district in the province after Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. It includes George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

Ward 9 (Dysselsdorp) in Oudtshoorn, Garden Route: PA 65% (1%) ANC 32% (46%) EFF 1% (1%) Ind-Basson 1%

 

The setting: Dysselsdorp is off the N12 national road between Oudtshoorn and De Rust. It is a former mission station. Oudtshoorn, the second-most populous municipality on the Garden Route, is known for its ostrich farming, the Cango Caves and Meiringspoort. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat local party Advies Kantoor by a margin of roughly two votes to one. The DA finished a distant third with 14% of the vote, while GOOD was fourth with 7%. The FF+ was next in the standings with 4%. 

The ANC had comfortable wins in the two densely populated Dysselsdorp voting districts. Advies Kantoor shared one of the two rural voting districts with the ANC. 

The newly elected councillor for Ward 9 was Chad Louw. Louw was one of the good stories to emerge from the ANC in this election. He was elected as mayor of Oudtshoorn and was the youngest mayor in the country. 

The ANC (28%) won less support than the DA (30%) but ended up winning more seats than the DA. The DA won more than 1,000 votes than the ANC. The ANC achieved this by winning eight wards, which is about 32% of the seats, well more than the 28% of the total vote it received. 

The ANC won 8/25 seats, down from the nine it had going into the elections. The DA lost almost half of its seats, falling from 12 to seven. The FF+ burst onto the scene in Oudtshoorn as the third-largest party with three seats. A regional party, the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa), matched its 2016 total of two seats. Five parties ended up with one seat – the EFF, GOOD, PA, Advies Kantoor and another regional party, Suid Kaap Staan (SKS).

Louw’s reign as mayor was short-lived. The DA (7) and FF+ (3) made a deal with Icosa (2) and SKS (one seat) to form a coalition.  

The by-election: Louw defected to the PA, which triggered the by-election. He was not on the ballot to win back his ward in PA colours. The PA selected a different candidate. The ANC would have to contend with the PA. Due to the very small lineup, all parties had a chance to grow in this contest. Advies Kantoor also formally endorsed the PA before this election. The three parties combined only make up 48% of the 2021 total party vote percentage in the ward. The voters’ roll grew by less than 1% compared with the 2021 local government elections roll. 

The PA has had many impressive by-election wins in the past couple of years. It has won in Gauteng, the Western Cape and the Northern Cape. This win in Dysselsdorp will count as its most impressive performance. The party registered just 1% support here in 2021. It came close to winning two-thirds of the vote in Dysselsdorp in the by-election, sweeping all four districts. It won 68% of the vote at Kolping House, the most-populous district in the ward. Advies Kantoor came second here with 22% in 2021. The PA won a lot more than just Advies Kantoor votes. The ANC fell from 53% to 30% in this district. The PA prevailed by 646 votes for a landslide win. This was the PA’s first ward win in Oudtshoorn. 

The new Oudtshoorn council composition is DA 7 ANC 7 (8) FF+ 3 PA 2 (1) ICOSA 2 EFF, GOOD, Advies Kantoor and Suid Kaap Staan (SKS) all one seat. Total: 25. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The DA, GOOD and FF+ were not on the ballot here. They could all be factors in this ward in the general election. 

Poll: 47% (45%)

Limpopo

There was one by-election in Limpopo. Polokwane accounts for about 13% of the province’s voters. Limpopo is the fifth-most populous province. 

Ward 10 (Makgofe Blood River) in Polokwane, Capricorn: ANC 53 (43%) EFF 43% (47%) ActionSA 2% (10%) ELF 1% MK 1% Operation Dudula <1%

 

The setting: Ward 10 is just north of Seshego. It also sits next to Perskebult. The ward comprises Makgofe, Blood River and Dairing Extension. It is near the old Aganang municipality border which was incorporated into Polokwane. Polokwane is the provincial capital of Limpopo and the most vote-rich area in the province. The ANC won more than 90% of the vote here in the 2011 local government elections. The emergence of the EFF saw this once super-safe ANC ward become a battleground ward in 2016, with the EFF winning it off the ANC in a by-election just after the local government elections in 2016, where the EFF won 54% of the vote, compared with the ANC’s 39%. 

The local government elections: The EFF retained the ward. However, the margin was narrower than the 2016 by-election win. 

The ANC  had one of its best nationwide results in Polokwane. It not only matched its 2016 showing in 2021, but improved on it, gaining five seats and rising from 57% to 60%. This growth was largely on the back of the EFF which lost six seats and saw its percentage vote share decline from 28% to 23%. This would have been one of the EFF’s most disappointing nationwide results in 2021.

The 2023 by-election: The EFF beat the ANC by 152 votes. ActionSA had a credible third-place finish with 10% of the vote in its Limpopo debut. The percentage margin of victory for the EFF over the ANC was greater than in the local government elections. This meant the EFF had won this ward on three consecutive occasions.

The EFF won the by-election by largely consolidating what it achieved in 2021. It got its supporters out in Blood River where it made small gains, with the ANC losing ground there. At the Molautsi Secondary School district in Blood River, the ANC’s percentage vote share declined from 38% to 31%, with the EFF creeping up from 57% to 59%. ActionSA won 9%. There was a differential turnout in the EFF’s favour when comparing Blood River with the more competitive Makgofe voting districts. Only 28% of registered voters came out to vote at Makgofe High School. This was far lower than the ward average of 44%. The EFF also flipped this voting district, going from 44% to 45%, while the ANC fell from 51% to 35% and ActionSA won 19%, its best showing in the ward. 

Turnout was relatively high in the ANC stronghold of Dairing Extension, but the ANC lost some ground to ActionSA, its percentage vote share dropping from 62% to 56%. ActionSA won 10%, as the EFF registered a slight improvement from 32% to 33%. 

The 2024 by-election: EFF ward councillor Jacob Seshoka was arrested in late December 2023 with six other suspects on a charge of breaking into the South African Police Service Stock Theft Unit and stealing weapons and 400 rounds of live ammunition. Seshoka resigned as councillor. The EFF would have to face off against the ANC, the EFF and the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party. This would be MK’s Limpopo debut. The voters’ roll grew by 2% since the last by-election here in January 2023. 

The ANC broke the EFF’s impressive three-election run in this ward with a 337-vote margin win. It won four of the six voting districts and made key incremental gains in its Dairing Extension stronghold in the ward. The ANC grew in both Makgofe districts and had gains in two of the three Blood River voting districts. In the last by-election the EFF won four of the six voting districts. This meant the ANC flipped two districts in the ward. It took one of the two Makgofe districts and one of the Blood River districts from the EFF. This meant the ruling party won two of the three Blood River districts. 

ActionSA faded in this by-election and barely featured, but still finished ahead of the MK party and Operation Dudula. MK will be most disappointed by its Limpopo debut. 

2024 election indicator caveat: There is no caveat. These parties are expected to be the major players in this ward on 29 May.  

Poll: 49% (44%)

Eastern Cape

There were two by-elections in the two most sparsely populated districts of the Eastern Cape. It included the Eastern Cape debut of MK and the election debut of Ace Magashule’s African Congress for Transformation (ACT). 

Ward 4 (Pearston) Blue Crane Route in Sarah Baartman: DA 52% (44%) ANC 47% (54%) EFF 1% (2%) 

 

The setting: Pearston is a small town on the regional R337 road which sits between Nxuba (formerly Cradock) and the merino sheep-farming town of Jansenville. The seat of the Blue Crane Route is KwaNojoli (formerly Somerset East) and Cookhouse. The Sarah Baartman district is a vast part of the Eastern Cape in the western part of the province. It includes towns like Graaff-Reinet, Jeffreys Bay and Makhanda. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the DA by 157 votes in a closely fought contest. The ANC won the election in the Khanyiso district where it won 90% of the vote and built up a buffer of 343 votes. The DA might have won four of the six voting districts in the ward, but it could not make up the difference. 

The ANC retained its outright majority in the municipality, winning six out of 11 seats, down by one from the seven it won in 2016. The DA retained its four seats while the EFF won a seat for the first time in the municipality. 

The by-election: Veteran councillor Mncedi Mali resigned. The ANC was joined on the ballot by the DA and the EFF. The voters’ roll grew by 7% since the last local government election. 

The DA beat the ANC by 98 votes in a closely fought contest. Despite the ANC’s turnout differential advantage in Khanyiso, and despite the party winning by a greater margin in Khanyiso compared with 2021, the DA was still able to take the ward off the ANC. At Pearston Secondary School the DA went from 53% to 63%, while the ANC declined from 46% to 36%. At the Nelsig Community Hall the DA went from 61% to 73% and the ANC dropped from 35% to 27%. The DA also flipped the sparsely populated Ebenezer farm voting district. 

The ANC’s impressive buffer of 438 votes in Khanyiso was not enough to withstand the DA’s gains. 

The Blue Crane Route council is now hung since the ANC fell to five seats from six, while the DA grew to five from four. The EFF, with its one seat, is the kingmaker in Blue Crane Route. The ANC would be expected to do a coalition deal with the EFF to continue governing. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The PA was not on the ballot in this by-election. It is expected to feature here in the general elections.  

Poll: 65% (59%)

Ward 8 (Dukathole Maletswai) in Walter Sisulu, Joe Gqabi: ANC 54% (58%) EFF 25% (23%) Ind-Msokoli 16% (16%*) ACT 2% MK 2%

The setting: Dukathole is northwest of the Maletswai (formerly Aliwal North) town centre. It sits under the Orange River which separates the Eastern Cape from the Free State. Dukathole is a majority Xhosa-speaking area but has a sizeable Sotho minority. The municipality also includes the towns of Burgersdorp and Steynsburg. Landmarks in the municipality are the Oviston Nature Reserve which connects with the Gariep Dam. The Joe Gqabi District borders Lesotho and the Free State. There are two other municipalities in the Joe Gqabi District – Elundini (Nqanqarhu) and Senqu (Lady Grey). Joe Gqabi has the fewest voters in the Eastern Cape. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC swept all four districts in the ward. A local party, the Maletswai Civic Association (MCA), came third with 16%, behind the EFF which won close to a quarter of the vote.

The ANC won 12 of the 22 available seats, and lost one. The DA remained the official opposition but lost two seats to fall from seven to five. The EFF made good inroads to grow from one seat to three. The MCA won two, up from the one it obtained in 2016. 

The by-election: Ward councillor Butise George had his ANC membership terminated after joining the MK party. The ANC and the EFF were joined by MK and ACT on the ballot. Both ANC breakaway parties were dipping their feet beyond their respective home grounds. Butise George was not the MK candidate in the by-election. Independent candidate Jan Msokili was the MCA candidate in the last election. His hope was that his personal standing in the community was higher than that of the MCA. The voters’ roll grew by 1% since the last local government election.

The ANC had a comfortable win, beating the EFF by 406 votes. The party increased its percentage vote share in two of the four voting districts. It was hurt slightly by ACT and MK, but both new parties would be bitterly disappointed at their low impact and low placings in this by-election.

The EFF won the Pelamosa Primary School voting district, growing from 37% to 53%, while the ANC fell from 44% to 31%. The EFF was unable to replicate the result in the other voting districts. It lost small bits of ground in the three other districts. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The parties expected to feature in the ward are all on the ballot in the by-election. The caveat is that the independent candidate will not be contesting the general election. 

Poll: 47% (45%)

Gauteng

Gauteng accounts for almost one in four of the country’s voting population. By-elections were held in three DA wards, with the party not having to fend off any Multi-Party Charter members. 

Tshwane

Ward 2 (Pretoria North), Tshwane: DA 95% (62%) ANC 4% (7%) EFF 1% (3%) OHM <1% (<1%) RCT <1% (<1%) 

The setting: Pretoria North is north of the city centre. The ward sits below the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria. The bottom of the ward is just to the left of the Wonderboom Nature Reserve. The ward includes the Hillside Golf Course. Besides Pretoria North, it also includes the suburbs of Flourana, Wolmer and a large part of Dorandia. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA swept all seven voting districts, winning more than 50% of the vote in six districts. The party did lose 20% compared with its 2016 result. It shed a sizeable chunk of votes to the FF+ and some to ActionSA. The FF+ finished second in the ward with 20%, as ActionSA was pipped to third place by the ANC.

The by-election: The ward councillor resigned. The DA was joined on the ballot by the EFF, the Republican Conference of Tshwane (RCT) and the Organic Humanity Movement (OHM). The voters’ roll increased by 6% since the 2021 local government elections. 

The DA won more than 90% of the vote in all seven voting districts in a dominant performance. It won 98% of the vote at the Tsosoloso Special School in Flourana. In 2021, the party won 73% here and the FF+ 21%. The DA will be happy that it did not shed any votes to smaller parties. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The FF+ and Action SA were not on the ballot here. The parties on the ballot amassed a total of 72% here in 2021. 

Poll: 24% (49%)

West Rand District

This district might only account for 7% of Gauteng’s voters, but it has more of them than Mangaung and Buffalo City. There were by-elections in two of the three municipalities in the district, with Merafong City (Carletonville) being spared an election.

Ward 39 (Pinehaven Sterkfontein Caves) Mogale City, West Rand: DA 54% (50%) ANC 38% (25%) EFF 8% (11%) OHM <1% (<1%)

The setting: Ward 39 is a large, expansive ward which is east and north of the Krugersdorp town centre. It has many wedding venues and hiking trails and also includes the Sterkfontein Caves and the Silver Star Casino. Most voters make their cross at Pinehaven, east of Krugersdorp. The ward includes Kromdraai, north of Krugersdorp. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA beat the ANC by two votes to one. It won five of the six voting districts, with the ward runner-up, the ANC, bagging one. The FF+ came third with 12% of the vote, narrowly edging out the EFF. 

An interesting voting district to observe is the Cradle Food Market, north of the city centre. Here the ANC, DA and EFF all won 30% of the vote, with the ANC getting one more vote than the DA and three more than the EFF. 

The ANC emerged as the largest party with 31 of the 77 seats, down seven from the 38 it won in 2021. The DA was the second-largest with 25, down two seats from its 27 in 2016. The EFF grew from nine seats to 11. The FF+ tripled its seat allocation from two to six to finish fourth in the municipality. The IFP retained its single seat, while the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) all won election to the council with a single seat. 

The DA, FF+, IFP and ACDP won the outside support of the EFF to secure control of the council. The coalition would not last long, with the ANC, EFF and ATM striking a coalition deal. The ANC and EFF could not agree on a mayoral candidate, so ATM councillor Danny Thupane, elected with just over 0.5% of the vote, won the mayoral chain. 

The by-election: The ward councillor resigned. The ANC, EFF and OHM were also on the ballot. The FF+ decided to sit out this by-election. The voters’ roll grew by 6% since the last election. 

The DA beat the ANC by 285 votes in the by-election. However, the ANC will be encouraged by some positive signs. It had a turnout differential advantage. Turnout was highest at Matla Primary School in Kromdraai. This was where the ANC did best in 2021. It went from 47% to 65%, with the DA edging up from 22% to 23%. The EFF lost some ground here, falling from 15% to 11%. Turnout was somewhat subdued at the Images of Africa district in Kromdraai. The DA went from 73% to 95% in its stronghold. The FF+ won 16% here in 2021. The ANC grew from 2% to 4%. 

The Pinehaven Weighbridge is the most-populous district in the ward. The DA grew from 54% to 58% but did not take full advantage of the FF+’s absence here. The FF+ won 11% here in 2021. The ANC grew from 23% to 36%. 

The Cradle Food Market district again provided the most nail-biting vote count, as the DA matched the ANC this time round, overturning the two-vote deficit from 2021. The EFF fell away here, finishing 56 votes behind both parties. 

2024 election indicator caveat:  The FF+, ActionSA and MK were not on the ballot. 

Poll: 33% (54%)

Ward 6 (Randfontein Greenhills), Rand West City, West Rand: DA 83% (70%) ANC 14% (11%) EFF (3%)

The setting: Greenhills is a suburb close to the town centre of Randfontein, and the seat of power is Rand West City. Rand West City is centred on Randfontein, Bekkersdal and Westonaria. Famous sons in this municipality are soccer player Ace Khuze and photographer David Goldblatt. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA won here by a landslide, with the FF+ coming second. The DA lost ground from 2016 when it won more than 80% of the vote. The FF+ was the prime beneficiary here in 2021. 

The ANC also lost its outright majority in the municipality. It had to make a coalition deal with the PA, Azanian People’s Organization (Azapo) and the African Independent Congress (AIC). 

The by-election: The ward councillor resigned. The FF+ sat out the by-election. The DA was joined on the ballot by the ANC and the EFF. The voters’ roll declined by less than 1% since the last election. 

The DA almost matched its 2021 vote percentage combined with the FF+’s, in a lopsided victory for the party. In the Greenhills Stadium voting district the DA outran the combined DA and FF+ total of 82% to win 88% of the vote. In the Randfontein Laerskool voting district the ANC went from 12% to 22%, winning 73% of the vote. In 2021, the party won 67% in the district and the FF+ 17%. 

2024 election indicator caveat: The FF+ and ActionSA were not on the ballot. 

Poll: 21% (49%)

Northern Cape

Ward 3 (Nonzwakazi De Aar) Emthanjeni in Pixley Ka Seme: ANC 79% (92%) EFF 21% (6%)

The setting: Nonzwakazi is south of the De Aar centre. It is just off the R318 road which links De Aar with Richmond. This is a predominantly Xhosa-speaking area. De Aar is the home town of former Northern Cape premier Hazel Jenkins and fabled South African strongman Gerrit Badenhorst. The town is also famous for its railway junction. The municipality also includes Hanover and Britstown. It forms part of the Pixley Ka Seme District which includes the towns of Prieska, Colesberg and Carnarvon. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won more than 90% of the vote in this by-election, improving on its 2016 showing. It breached the 90% mark in all three voting districts. The EFF declined from its 2016 showing by a few percentage points.

The ANC retained its outright majority in Emthanjeni, winning nine out of 15 seats. It did not lose any seats. The DA lost one, falling from five to four, while the EFF retained its seat and the PA won a seat on the council.

The by-election: Young ANC ward councillor Sandile Makhandula resigned as councillor and as a member of the ANC and defected to the EFF. He would go head-to-head with his former party in the safest ANC seat in the municipality – in fact the safest seat by a country mile in all eight municipalities in the Pixley Ka Seme District. The voters’ roll grew by 4% since the last local government election.

The ANC stormed home to retain the seat in this stronghold. While the EFF did grow, it fell well short of challenging the ANC with the former ward councillor. The ANC won in excess of 80% of the vote in two of the three voting districts. The EFF did best in the CCAC Church voting district in Nonzwakazi (4% to 24%) while the ANC shrunk from 95% to 76%. 

This dominant performance will further galvanise premier Zamani Saul and his ANC team on the road to the 2024 elections. 

2024 election indicator caveat: These are likely to be the only two parties that feature in this ward in the general election. 

Poll: 64% (52%)

North West

There was one by-election in the province, in the Bojanala District, the platinum belt of the province. It is by far the most populous district in the province, accounting for just under 45% of its voters. 

Ward 18 (Pella) Moses Kotane, Bojanala: ANC 67% (71%) ELF 24% EFF 7% (10%) Bana Ba Thiri 2% (11%)

The setting: This is a rural ward centred on the village of Pella. It is just above the Marico Bosveld Nature Reserve. It is north of Herman Charles Bosman’s beloved Groot Marico. 

Moses Kotane Municipality plays host to Sun City and the Pilanesberg. Its seat of power is Mogwase. It is the fifth-most populous municipality in the province. The Bojanala District includes Rustenburg, Brits and Makapanstad. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC improved on its showing in the ward compared with the 2016 result. The EFF lost ground here, as local party Bana Ba Thiri pipped the EFF to second place. The ANC swept all six voting districts. 

The ANC grew in seat allocation from 45 to 46 in the 69-seat chamber. The EFF remained the official opposition but lost two seats, falling from 15 to 13. The next-biggest parties in the council were well back, with only two seats.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

The by-election: The ward councillor resigned. The ANC and EFF were joined on the ballot by Bana Ba Thiri and an EFF breakaway, the Economic Liberators Forum (ELF). The ANC fielded Orapeleng Setlohodi as its candidate. Setlohodi finished second on the ward ballot in 2016 as an independent.

The ANC won more than two-thirds of the vote in this by-election, losing a sliver of ground. It won 97% of the vote at Botlhale Primary School, up from 92% in 2021. The runner-up in the by-election, the ELF, was a surprise as it registered a strong second-place finish. The party came second in five of the six voting districts, obtaining more than 30% in half of the districts. Bana Ba Thiri collapsed in the by-election. 

2024 election indicator caveat: MK and ActionSA were not on the ballot in this by-election. They could feature in this ward in the general election. Bana Ba Thiri is also not on the provincial ballot. 

Poll: 47% (40%)

Next by-election

The next by-election will be on 15 May when the ANC will defend a safe rural seat in North West. It will be the final by-election before the elections on 29 May. DM

We have allocated a percentage to the independent candidate on the Walter Sisulu ballot as he stood for a local party in the 2021 elections in the ward. 

Gallery

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