Photo: African News Agency (ANA)
The DA has won an ANC ward in the Hessequa Municipality, and now holds the most seats in the council.

The party emerged triumphant in three by-elections in Hessequa, Stellenbosch and George on Wednesday.

In Hessequa, the DA won the ward with a 23% increase in voter support since 2016, according to its Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.

“The greatest win for the party is in ward 4 Hessequa, where the DA took a ward off the ANC, gaining 57% of the vote - a massive 23% increase in voter support since 2016.

“This is the very first time the DA has won this ward. This victory means that the DA now holds the majority in the Hessequa Municipality. These wins show that the people of the Western Cape refuse to be divided along racial lines or race-baited by the ANC’s desperation for relevance in our province,” said Madikizela.

According to Madikizela, the party retained ward 9 with a 98% majority vote in Stellenbosch and retained ward 18 in George with 74% of the votes.

Western Cape ANC secretary Faiez Jacobs said the party was disappointed with the by-election results.

He said the ANC would make a full assessment of what went wrong, including issues of voter turnout, local cohesion and unity, and strategies to reach voters on farms.

“We will redouble our efforts to strengthen our local branch so that we can be visible in every voting district (Diepkloof, Slangrivier, Vondeling and Witsand) and become an effective opposition.

“All our efforts until election day will be focused on door-to-door work and election day logistics.

“Every vote counts and we must work very hard to ensure that every one of our supporters get to the polls on May 8,” he said.

Jacobs said the disappointment was a strong motivator for the party to up its game across the entire province, as they mobilise around their message of hope and renewal as represented by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Other by-elections took place in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Northern Cape, with the ANC retaining seven seats and the DA retaining five.