Durban - THE IFP in the Msunduzi Municipality has called on opposition parties in the council to unite and respond to the pleas of the people of Msunduzi who are “calling” for the removal of the ANC from power.
This comes after the party wrested away a ward from the ANC in a by-election in Sweetwaters on Wednesday.
The party said this was an indication that the residents of the municipality wanted a different party in charge of the council.
Two by-elections were held in the municipality on Wednesday in which the DA retained control of ward 25, while the IFP took ward 2 from the ANC. The ward had been under the control of the ANC for years.
In the ward 2 by-elections, the IFP said it came out victorious with 2 408 votes, while the ANC only managed 1 649 votes. The party said the win had “loosened the ANC’s already tenuous grip on power in the council”.
“Currently the ANC is governing Msunduzi with the assistance – and at the mercy – of an independent councillor. This IFP triumph will further weaken the ANC’s hold on Msunduzi Municipality, forcing it to beg other parties to keep it in power,” the IFP said.
“The people of Msunduzi are clearly saying they want change. It would be a shame and incredible disservice to these people if the parties in the council allow the ANC to remain in power after this,” said IFP leader in the council, Thinasonke Ntombela.
The ANC has 39 councillors, down from 40, while the opposition has 42 councillors, Ntombela said.
“Parties like the EFF have stated that they care about the people and the city. It is time they showed that they do care (by voting with the opposition),” said Ntombela.
“The ANC pulled out all the stops – there is not a single MEC that did not arrive to campaign there. There were food parcels, they started patching up potholes on the roads and even turned on the tap water supply. The community accepted all of that, but they remained steadfast in their desire that they want change and they voted for the IFP.
“We want to thank the people of ward 2 for showing trust in the IFP and we will not let them down,” he said.
DA leader in Msunduzi, Ross Strachan, said the results had sent a significant message to the people of the city.
“That is, that they are tired of the ANC, their failure to provide basic services, the lack of interest in the people, but only for themselves. This brings the ANC further below 50% in council and impacts on their flimsy coalition to stay in power,” he said.
After retaining its ward, the DA said: “As we head into the 2024 elections we are encouraged by the trust that citizens of KZN continue to have in the DA.”
It said the residents are rejecting years of neglect by the ANC government and are instead opting for a party that puts their interests first and has a track record of good governance.
“The DA can do in Msunduzi what we have done in uMngeni. The province of KwaZulu-Natal can only operate effectively under a DA government,” it said.
The ANC said it would release a statement on the outcomes of the by-elections.