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Johannesburg - The ANC has lost ground since 2011 in five municipal wards it retained in by-elections on Wednesday - and it lost a ward in Tlokwe in the North West.
This emerged on Thursday in results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
There was a significant drop in African National Congress support in three of the wards, compared to the 2011 local government election.
The biggest drop was in the Ward 18 of Tlokwe (Potchefstroom). In 2011, the party won 94.37 percent of the vote, compared to 62.04 percent in 2013.
In Merafong (Carletonville), it won 69.20 percent of the vote, compared to 84.27 percent 2011; and in Drakenstein (Paarl), it won 71.98 percent, compared to 88.64 percent in 2011.
In the two other wards, the decrease was small.
In Giyani, Limpopo, the ANC took 83.25 percent of the vote, down from 85.57 percent in 2011, and in Ward Six of Tlokwe, it won 63.64 percent, down from 64.26 percent.
The ANC lost control of Ward 26 in Tlokwe to independent candidate Butiki Mahlabe, who got 61.03 percent of the vote. Standing for the ANC in 2011, Mahlabe won the ward with 95.06 percent of the vote.
Mahlabe, who has served as a councillor in the area for 12 years, was one of 14 councillors the ANC expelled in July after finding them guilty of misconduct for participating in a motion of no confidence against Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle.
Maphetle was replaced as mayor by DA councillor Annette Combrink. The ANC's national disciplinary committee later overturned the expulsions. Despite this, eight of the 14 councillors registered as independent candidates for the by-elections.
In 2011, there was no independent winner in any of the wards.
The ANC's support increased in two wards this year.
They were in Mbhashe (Dutywa), in the Eastern Cape, and Zeerust, in the North West.
In Mbhashe, 82.77 percent of the vote went to the ANC, up from 80.78 percent in 2011, and in Zeerust, it got 69.28 percent, up from 56.95 percent.
The Democratic Alliance retained its three wards - Heidelberg, eThekwini, and Mossel Bay, but had less support in one of them.
It won 64.45 percent of the vote in Mossel Bay, compared to 79.35 percent in 2011.
Its candidate in the Heidelberg ward Gerhard Holtzhausen won the by-election uncontested. In eThekwini, the DA increased its support to 86.97 percent from 71.08 percent in 2011.