Kimberley - The governing African National Congress (ANC) has retained its seven seats in a by-election at the Sol Plaatjie Municipality in the Northern Cape.
Wednesday's by-election in Kimberley's Galeshewe township saw political parties vie for the vacant wards following the expulsion of seven ANC councillors last year. The governing party retained wards 11, 9, 19, 13, 12, 32 and 16 but lost 2,459 votes to independent candidates, some of whom were the expelled councillors. In some of the wards, the independent candidates garnered more votes than the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Democratic Alliance (DA), coming second to the ANC.
A court interdict application by the former ANC councillors to halt the by-elections was dismissed with costs by the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday. The councillors were booted out in October 2018 for defying their party after they voted along with opposition parties to oust the then ANC mayor Mangaliso Matika.
Residents of Kimberley embarked on protests last year, demanding that Matika resign, accusing him of being corrupt. Shops were looted and infrastructure vandalised during the rolling "Matika Must Fall" protests that started in July. Matika tendered his resignation in September and was replaced by Patrick Mabilo.
Kimberley is an ANC stronghold with the DA and the EFF as the largest opposition parties in the council.