DURBAN - THE ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is licking its wounds after it suffered heavy losses in key municipalities, including the economic node of uMhlathuze Municipality.
This comes after the deal between the governing party and the IFP to support each other fell apart this week.
At the meeting of the uMhlathuze council yesterday, Dr Nkonzoyakhe Donda of the IFP was elected as the new mayor, with Nkonzo Ngubane of the EFF elected as the deputy mayor and Tobias Gumede of the IFP, as the new speaker.
The meeting was a continuation of the previous sitting that had ended abruptly because of a power failure on Monday. The IFP’s win followed a deal that was struck with the EFF and marks the first time that the red berets have held political office in the council.
The IFP won in the province’s mining belt, taking towns such as Ladysmith and Newcastle. The ANC won in Mtubatuba, KwaDukuza, Ndwedwe and uMdoni municipalities this week.
In Newcastle, the IFP also managed to remove the ANC by entering into an agreement with the Team Sugar South Africa, a party that came into being a few months before the elections.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said they would release a statement regarding the recent developments. “We will first issue a statement to put everybody on the same par before engaging individual media houses,” he said.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said they were not heavily disappointed with the outcomes as they did not have sufficient seats. “In the end, winning is a numbers game, if you do not have the required numbers then you lose,” he said.
Ntombela said the party would conduct an assessment of its performance to determine the reasons for its poor performance in the elections.
He said the ANC would have to work hard to provide services to communities where it had won as a means of demonstrating its commitment to serving the people.
University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Siyabonga Ntombela said the ANC’s poor showing at the polls was the end result of its poor service delivery.
“It is one thing to speak about national matters, but people look at whether their cities are clean, refuse is getting collected each week and whether it is safe to walk in their neighbourhoods, and that is where the ANC performed dismally and then the voters expressed their views through the vote.”
He pointed to the failure to enforce city by-laws in punishing businesses that were polluting cities as examples of a failure by local government, citing eThekwini and Msunduzi municipalities as cases that reflected the failure.
He said this week’s developments had woken the ANC up to the reality that it no longer had the glowing appeal it once enjoyed, and that people had grown tired of broken promises. He added that the losses in uMhlathuze and Newcastle had pushed the party into a desperate corner where there was a great possibility of it losing KZN’s only metro.
“The fact of the matter is that the ANC is desperate, with the 2024 elections looming, and realises that there is not a lot of time between now and the national and provincial elections in three years’ time.”
He said this week’s developments demonstrated how fluid politics had become with parties that had never worked together before teaming up to form coalitions.
“When you think about it the EFF and IFP have very little in common, yet they managed to find a common target in the ANC and therefore teamed up to form a coalition,” he said, pointing to the development in uMhlathuze.