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ANC losses to independent or opposition parties in by-elections is a sign of people using democracy to bring about change, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Tuesday.
“The local level is where voters are able to hold their representatives directly accountable,” said researcher Georgina Alexander.
Using data from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the institution said the ANC suffered a net loss of six wards while the National Freedom Party (NFP) lost one.
“The Democratic Alliance achieved a net gain of three wards and Congress of the People (Cope) a net gain of one. The DA managed to win five wards from the ANC while the ANC won two from the DA.”
The institute calculated the parties' net loss or gain by subtracting the number of wards lost from the number of wards won during the said period.
Retained wards were not taken into account when calculating the net losses or gains.
Between May 2011 and November 2012, 122 by-elections were held among the 4 277 wards.
Independent candidates gained two wards since the 2011 local election, one being a ward in Rustenburg, Marikana, where the ANC lost to an independent candidate.
“The other ward won by an independent candidate was in the Northern Cape, where an ANC councillor resigned (from the ANC) and was re-elected as an independent candidate,” said Alexander. - Sapa