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IFP stands to lose another municipality but challenges the legitimacy of results that dethrone it

The IFP might lose Inkosi Langalibalele local municipality. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

The IFP might lose Inkosi Langalibalele local municipality. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 29, 2023


The IFP stands to lose another KwaZulu-Natal municipality after Wednesday’s electoral setback in Estcourt.

During the highly contested by-elections, the IFP lost Ward 14 of Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality (Estcourt) to the ANC.

The ward was fiercely contested, and at some point, emotions ran high between IFP and ANC supporters, and police had to be called order.

The by-elections came after the IFP expelled three of its former councillors following accusations that they accepted R100,000 in bribes from the ANC to help it topple Mayor Mduduzi Myeza.

The IFP won two of the three wards, meaning that when combined with its coalition partner, the DA, they now hold 23 seats.

On the other hand, the ANC, EFF, National Freedom Party (NFP), and an independent councillor make up 24 seats, which enables them to take over the municipality.

The IFP said it was not accepting the results of Ward 14 since there were irregularities where voters were promised food parcels in return for their votes.

“While we celebrate these remarkable successes, we vehemently dispute the results in Ward 14 of Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality. The IFP categorically rejects the outcome due to grave concerns regarding the integrity of the electoral process.

“After uncovering substantial evidence of coercive tactics employed by the ANC, the IFP swiftly lodged a formal complaint and grievance with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the day of the by-elections. The IFP has uncovered compelling information that exposes the ANC's involvement in coercing voters in Ward 14.

“Disturbing reports indicate that ANC representatives actively enticed individuals to vote for their party, coercing them to take a photograph of their marked ballot as evidence,” said Thami Ntuli, the IFP's chairperson in KZN.

On the other hand, the ANC revelled, saying the victory marks its growth in the area and marks another chapter to reclaim the Uthukela District Municipality which it lost to the IFP in 2021.

“The show of strength by the ANC is reflected in the 54.89% votes attained by the organisation. Importantly, snatching the ward from the IFP is not only an indication of the growth of the ANC in the area but marks another chapter in our efforts to return uThukela District Municipality to the ANC,” the ANC said in a statement issued on Thursday after the results were certified by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Meanwhile, the DA easily retained eThekwini municipality’s Ward 11 (Newlands East) during Wednesday's by-elections.

The party even increased its tally, beating the ANC hands down by obtaining 2928 votes while its nearest challenger got 1554 votes.

The IFP was able to defend Ward 29 in Ladysmith where it fired a councillor (Phasika Nsele) for allegedly colluding with the ANC to remove the Mayor of Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Zama Sibisi.

If the IFP lost the Ladysmith by-elections, its stranglehold on the municipality would have been further weakened as it is in coalition with the DA while the ANC is breathing heavily on its neck.

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