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Johannesburg - The IFP lost three wards in closely contested by-elections in Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal, according to results posted on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) website on Thursday morning.
The Inkatha Freedom Party on Wednesday lost two wards in Nongoma to breakaway group the National Freedom Party, and one to the African National Congress.
The ANC candidate won with 44.91 percent of the votes in ward five while the IFP candidate secured 21.64 percent of the votes and the NFP received 33.44 percent.
In Nongoma's ward 10 the NFP candidate received 34.41 percent of the vote winning by three votes over the ANC in a close contest. The NFP received 906 votes, the ANC 903, and the IFP 824 votes. There were 26 spoilt ballots.
In ward 11 the NFP candidate also won by a narrow margin with a mere nine votes being the difference.
The NFP garnered 889 votes and the IFP 880. There were 30 spoilt ballots.
NFP national secretary Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa thanked voters in Nongoma for trusting in the party and awarding it its first by-election successes since the 2011 local government elections.
“It bodes well for us as we move towards the 2014 national election,” he said.
The win for the party means its councillors now hold 21 seats in the 42-seat municipal council.
The ANC has seven seats and the IFP 14.
The NFP and the ANC have formed a coalition to run the municipality.
Khubisa said the outcome of the by-elections would not affect the agreement between the two parties.
Nationally, by-elections were held in nine wards in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Free State, the North West and Limpopo.
The ANC was uncontested in Molemole, Limpopo, and retained wards in Tswaing in the North West and Hibiscus Coast (Port Shepstone) in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Democratic Alliance retained two wards and won a Makhado (Louis Trichardt) ward in Limpopo from an independent candidate with 38.85 percent of the vote.
The DA retained the Ngwathe (Parys) ward in the Free State and the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) ward in the Eastern Cape.