Beaufort West – The Democratic Alliance has declared victory in the hotly contest Beaufort West by-elections, which ensures the party retains control of the municipality.
Although the Independent Electoral Commission will only be making a formal announcement on the results later on Thursday morning, party leaders from both the DA and the African National Congress announced the outcome shortly after midnight having spoken to party agents from the five district voting stations that make up ward, 7 and tallied up the results themselves.
Wednesday’s by-election was as the result of the resignation of the ward’s former councillor, Djorge Malooi, earlier this year who was also the municipality’s mayor.
Speaking to Independent Media outside the Beaufort West Primary School, the ANC's Western Cape provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs, conceded defeat and thanked party members for their supporters.
“As the ANC we want to express our gratitude to all those that came out and voted for us and all the volunteers. We fought a good fight. We must accept defeat but I think we must go back to the drawing board,” he said.
The DA’s Bonginkosi Madikizela said that while his party celebrated the victory, they would have to repay those who entrusted them with their votes by delivering services.
“We must celebrate the victory but remember why people voted for us in the first place,” he said.
According to the DA, they clinched victory with 1 724 votes, followed by the ANC at 1 251 and the EFF with 52 votes from the over 4 000 registered voters.
The party says their latest victory in the ward showed an increase compared to last year’s local government election and growth in their figures from 46,8 percent in 2016 to 56,9 percent.
IEC officials in the area say certified results will only be released and announced once all the results have been audited and captured on the system later on Thursday morning.