Picture: Phill Magakoe African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Phill Magakoe African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Super Wednesday: ANC regains control of local municipalities despite internal battles

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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Johannesburg: The ANC's internal battles have not deterred voters from supporting it.

This comes as the party has clinched 70 ward councillors seats out of the 95 contested wards in Wednesday's by-elections with the biggest losers in these by-elections being the DA.

The DA lost nine seats nationally, the majority in Gauteng –three in the City of Joburg – formerly controlled by the DA until October last year.

The ANC snatched a seat from the DA in Ward 20 while newcomers Al Jamah-Ah also won wards previously headed up by the DA.

This was revealed by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in Pretoria on Thursday.

Deputy chairperson Janet Love said the commission was encouraged by the turnout of voters which is within the range for by-elections held since the 2016 Municipal Elections.

“The average turnout yesterday (on Wednesday) was 37.83 percent compared to an average of 38.73 percent over the past four years.

“The highest turnout recorded yesterday was 75.29 percent which was recorded in ward 4 of the Port St Johns Municipality in the Eastern Cape,” Love said.

She said given the fact this was the first elections conducted during Covid-19, that election day was a normal working day and given the inclement weather in many parts of the country especially in KwaZulu-Natal, the success of the elections boded well for the upcoming Municipal Elections scheduled for 2021.

Earlier on Thursday, the DA conceded that its impasse with Good leader and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille had severely affected their performance in the by-elections.

National spokesperson Refiloe Ntsekhe said the DA faced a net loss of 7 wards in the by-elections, and we are analysing them very carefully, ward by ward.

“The DA has democratically mature voters who punish us where we have disappointed them through weak local councillors or perceived governance failures.

“There is also the phenomenon of “identity politics” – a worldwide trend that has also impacted the South African electoral landscape.

“The debacle of Schweizer-Reneke continues to haunt the DA in the North West Province, and the months of conflict between the DA and Patricia de Lille, which gave rise to the party known as Good, has eaten into our support base in certain Western Cape wards,” Ntsekhe said.

She said the party has learnt many lessons of its poor handling of these events, and it would take time for it to rebuild trust with the voters.

“However, we are very pleased that we retained the majority of our wards, showed growth in some of them and even won two new wards in a period when we are busy consolidating and stabilizing internal systems and processes,” Ntsekhe said.

Meanwhile, the ANC in Gauteng was emboldened by its performance including snatching two critical wards from the DA in the province – in Joburg and Emfuleni in the Vaal.

Commenting on the outcome of the elections, Gauteng ANC spokesperson Jacob Khawe said: “What is most humbling in these by-elections is the fact that the ANC did not just retain its wards, the people entrusted the party with wards that were previously in the hands of the Democratic Alliance, which has since been elbowed out of those wards and failed to win a single ward across the province." | Political Bureau

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