Johannesburg - The battle between the DA and the ANC to control certain municipal wards across the country or retain power is heating up as candidates keep a close eye on the proceedings of Wednesday’s by-elections.
About 40 by-elections are taking place around South Africa.
In Gauteng, the City of Joburg, the City of Ekurhuleni and the City of Tshwane are hotly contested as many wards are vacant due to various reasons.
Ward 18 in Eldorado Park and ward 17 in Klipspruit are under DA control but are being challenged by the ANC and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).
Ward 18 DA candidate Ingrid Harris said she is campaigning after a DA Councillor vacated the position.
“I was born and I still live in ward 18, I promise residents better service delivery. I have created public safety groups, my campaign is about providing services for the people, I will sit in council and be the voice for ward 18,” said Harris.
However, her opponent from the PA, ward 18 candidate Juwairiya Smith, accused the DA of being in charge of the ward yet deprived people of proper services.
When asked why should people vote for her, Smith said they would be voting for the PA, not her.
“As the PA, we are an army that is standing together, the army will hold me accountable. When doing things to do with service delivery, the army will be there to assist,” said Smith.
She said she believed the large turn out of PA supporters means that they will vote for their party and win the ward.
“Our people have been hurt for a long time. We will not allow any political parties to steal from the people anymore, we have come to claim back everything you have stolen,” said Smith.
Another area that is a stronghold of DA in Tshwane traditionally, is Ward 3 in West Park, Tshwane, is one of nine vacant wards, the DA will be contesting three out of the nine wards.
Ward 3 ANC candidate Julius Molepo said from their understanding, in 2016 majority of people voted for a DA Councillor but unfortunately, that councillor vacated the position within 10 months.
Molepo accuses the councillor of not being a resident of their area. He said, as residents, they were left in limbo.
However, ward 3 DA candidate Mandla Ntlapho defended the councillor. He said the councillor was incapacitated, his illness persisted until he was released from his position.
Molepo said the municipality is under the administration of the DA, not the ANC.
“What is happening all over Tshwane, there is a lack of coordinated service delivery. What we saw leading to by-elections, the DA has made R1 million available here, they are bringing street lights in order to get votes. We find this to be deceiving to the general residents, we know DA has failed,” said Molepo.