File photo: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA).

Richards Bay - The IFP has gained an upper hand in the Mtubatuba municipality after clawing back a ward from its old political rival the ANC, giving it an almost clear majority to run the 40 seat council.

On Wednesday, the party won the Ward 6 by-election. The ward was previously represented by the ANC but became vacant as a result of the councillor’s resignation early this year. 

The IFP’s victory means that the IFP-led coalition now has 21 seats while the ANC has 18.

There is still one pending by-election in the disputed Ward 4.

Commenting after the victory, IFP’s incoming leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said the victory was sweet because it would give them the needed majority to pursue their developmental policies and deliver services without having to look over their shoulder.

“This win will give us a comfortable majority to be able to pursue our service delivery agenda and development at Mtubatuba,” Hlabisa said.

He added that they are also confident that they will increase their majority by winning the pending by-election at ward 4. The results were nullified when the ANC objected, saying some of the voters came from outside the ward.

“From the look of things, we are still confident that we will again win the ward where there is a pending re-run. After all, we had previously won the ward but the ANC lodged a complaint, hence the vacant seat,” he said.

The new councillor of the ward is Sifiso Nkosinathi Vilana. He was up against Abraham David De Lange of the African Christian Democratic Party, Khumbulani Cele of the ANC, Thuthukani Sithole of the African People's Convention, Sicelo Gama of the EFF, and Siyanda Mdlalose of the National People’s Front.

Political Bureau