Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Kimberley - Political parties are set to go head-to-head at Northern Cape's Sol Plaatje Municipality by-elections on Wednesday following the expulsion of seven African National Congress (ANC) councillors last year.

A court interdict application by the seven councillors to halt the by-elections was dismissed with costs by the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The councillors were expelled 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.

The ANC in the province said it was vindicated by the high court ruling.

"The court ruling continue to vindicate the ANC and further affirm the procedural correctness and fairness of the internal disciplinary processes of the ANC as contained in our constitution. We are focused and have a stronger resolve to retain these wards and prove that the ANC remains the only hope our people have to deal with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment," the party said in a statement.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported last month that the expelled councillors decided to contest the by-elections as independent candidates.

"Fortunately for us, we did not go out and say we want to contest these wards. The community members came to us and said we must contest because they understood that we were expelled for defending their rights," Pius Tshite, one of the former councillors was quoted by the SABC.

Kimberley is an ANC stronghold with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as the largest opposition parties in the council.

African News Agency/ANA