Cape Town - The scene is set for a heated by-election in the Western Cape today as the two-way race between the DA and ANC is likely to set the tone for the general elections in the province later this year.
The three ward by-elections will be contested by 12 candidates from five political parties and one independent candidate.
In Ward 31 in the City, the candidates are Charmaine Malgas from the ACDP, Bazoya Mtini from the ANC, Theresa Thompson from the DA, Kenneth Brookes from the Democratic Independent Party and Theresa Jafta from the EFF.
The ward, which includes parts of Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park, was represented previously by DA councillor Jonathan Cupido and became vacant as a result of his resignation.
Cupido quit with nine other DA councillors when former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille resigned from her position and the party.
Cupido has joined De Lille’s new Good party.
In the 2016 municipal elections, voter turnout for the ward was 61.16% and the DA candidate won the ward with 81.02% votes.
In Ward 101 in Bloekombos, on the outskirts of Kraaifontein, Siyabonga Duka from the ANC, Siseko Mbandezi from the DA and Lucky Valela from the EFF will battle it out.
The ward, seen as an ANC stronghold, was previously represented by the party's councillor, Luyanda Mbele, and became vacant as a result of his death.
Mbele, who was also the chairperson of the United Commuters Voice, was shot dead outside his Kraaifontein home last year.
The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 municipal elections was 57.29% and the ANC candidate won the ward with 83.89% of the votes.
Another ANC stronghold is Ward 5 in the Bergrivier Municipality, which governs the towns of Piketberg, Velddrif and Porterville as well as the surrounding villages and rural areas.
It will be contested by Andries Jaars, an independent candidate, the ACDP's Jan Maarman, the ANC's Immanuel Adams, Adam van Wyk from the DA and Dirk Jakobus Adams from the EFF.
The ward was previously represented by ANC councillor Billy Claasen and became vacant as a result of his expulsion from council following bad behaviour.
The voter turnout for this ward in the by-elections held on August 22, 2017, was 57.76% and the ANC candidate won the ward with 53.91% of valid votes.
ANC spokesperson Dennis Cruywagen said the party was upbeat about the by-elections.
“The ANC is optimistic of retaining Ward 5 in Bergrivier Municipality, which became vacant when the DA MEC for local government Anton Bredell removed the sitting ANC councillor Billy Claasen, who won the ward in 2017,” he said.
Cruywagen said in Cape Town, the ANC provincial elections head, Ebrahim Rasool, has been in Kraaifontein campaigning for votes.
DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said out of the three wards, two were previously ANC wards.
“We will retain our wards and we are very confident that we can take the other wards from the ANC. We have done everything that we needed to do and now the fight is on,” he said.