Even though it was DA whistle-blowers that led to the sacking of an ANC councillor for alleged corruption – and a vacant ward – the residents of Ward 28 in Diepkloof, Soweto, again voted for an ANC candidate.
By-election results released on Thursday by the Electoral Commission show that ANC candidate Batetiye Brenda Marule received 2 641 votes, compared to DA candidate Rachael Molepo's 567 in Wednesday's by-election, in the contest to fill the seat left vacant by fired ANC councillor Thabo Nkhasi.
Nkhasi allegedly sold council-owned land to a church for R15 000, which DA councillors Tony Molefe and Tshepo Mhlongo made public, leading to Nkhasi being removed and the vacancy arising.
In the by-election, African Christian Democratic Party candidate Khayizeni Shibambo received 37 votes, Azanian People's Organisation candidate Michael Peter 20, Cope candidate Peter Mamabolo 10, DA candidate Rachael Molepo 567, Sipho Zungu of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania 61 and Thabo Molefe of the Operation Khanyisa Movement 45.
The ANC said in Joburg said it was very happy to have the ward back.
“The ANC has recorded yet another resounding victory during a local government by-election in ward 28 at Diepkloof,” said Jolidee Matongo, ANC Joburg region spokesman.
He volunteered that their previous representative had been sacked for corruption and said: “The ANC wants to take this opportunity to thank the people of ward 28 for once again giving the ANC an overwhelming majority.
“We promise that we will not disappoint the people but will serve them with dignity and humility.”
The total valid votes were 3 381 out of 3 423, but only 23.73 percent of the registered voters voted.
Matongo said the low voter turnout was because it was a work day for most people.
“We had hoped for 10 percent but we went up to 16 percent, which has given us much encouragement,” said DA provincial leader John Moodey.
“People don't just on one occasion change their allegiance, their political home,” he said.
“But we found during our campaign over the last week that there was a very warm reception and that has been setting the ground for the way forward.”
Moodey said that Molepo would eventually stand a very good chance of winning the ward. – Sapa