Johannesburg - The ANC has retained six wards that were up for by-election in Tlokwe, in the North West, according to results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday.
Party candidates retained wards one, four, 11, 12, 13 and 20 of the municipality after voting took place on Wednesday.
The national ANC welcomed the results.
“Democracy has prevailed. The ANC now holds a majority of 30 seats in the 52 seat council (in Tlokwe) thus restoring order and credibility to the council,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“Repeated attempts by opportunistic elements to subvert the legitimate will of the people have failed. This resounding victory of the people lays to rest, once and for all, the exploitative political manoeuvrings by desperate forces within the Tlokwe local council.”
The by-elections were initially supposed to take place in the same wards, with the exclusion of Ward 13, on October 23. That by-election was earlier postponed after an out-of-court settlement.
The by-elections in the remainder of the wards was postponed after six independent candidates asked for more time to campaign.
The date of October 23 was set after the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein heard an application by five independent candidates who were disqualified from taking part in previous by-elections by the IEC.
The African National Congress retained control of two of three wards in the remainder of the previous by-elections in Tlokwe.
The seats were vacated when 14 ANC councillors were expelled from the party in July for participating in a motion of no confidence in then Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle. He was replaced as mayor by Democratic Alliance councillor Annette Combrink.
The ANC's national disciplinary committee subsequently overturned the expulsions, but nominated other candidates for the by-elections. Some of the former councillors decided to stand as independents.
Mthembu said the ANC called on its elected candidates to live up to the confidence its people had shown in them.
“Working together, we must accelerate the pace of changing the lives of the people in Tlokwe for the better, delivering on our call for unity in action towards socio-economic freedom.”
The ANC in the North West said it was elated by the “overwhelming victory”.
“To us as the ANC, this victory is a befitting send-off of our beloved president and father of the rainbow nation, comrade President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,” provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said.
“We want to thank all those who voted today, and those that reaffirmed their confidence in the ANC because of its commitment to change and transformation.” - Sapa