South Africa

BY-ELECTIONS: The ANC ends off the year on a high note in competitive wards

There were five competitive wards contested in the latest round of by-elections. The African National Congress (ANC) had to defend the two most marginal of those five competitive wards. They not only defended them, but took two wards off the Democratic Alliance (DA) and a ward off the IFP. It was a remarkable night for the ANC.

Ward 4 in Cederberg (Graafwater Sandberg) in the Western Cape. ANC 49% (26%) DA 37% (67%) ACDP 13% (Incumbent) EFF 1% (1%)

Cederberg is a DA controlled municipality in the Western Cape. Its principal towns are Citrusdal and Clanwilliam. Ward 4 is a rural ward in the potato capital of the Western Cape. It lies along the R364 road which links Citrusdal with Lamberts Bay. Most voters in the ward reside in Graafwater. The incumbent councillor Jimmy Barnard ran for the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). The DA had to win the by-election to ensure continued outright control.

The DA got over two thirds of the vote in this ward in 2016. The ANC came second, over 40% points behind the DA. In a stunning upset, the ANC was able to win the ward from the DA. They did so, by flipping the Graafwater voting district. They won the largest voting district by over 280 votes, getting 51% of the vote while the DA could only get 32%, and the ACDP got 15%. In 2016, the DA got 510 more votes than the ANC in the district, getting 64% of the vote, compared to the ANC’s 28%. This is where the by-election was won and lost. The ANC was also able to win the JP Visser Hall voting district off the DA. It is a smaller district, but the swing must be noted. In 2016, the DA got 86% of the vote, compared to the ANC’s 12%, seeing them carry the district by over 200 votes. On Wednesday night, the ANC got 47% of the vote compared to 44%, as they got 9 more votes than the DA.

In what might be a harbinger of things to come for the DA in the Western Cape, the former DA councillor was able to get 13% of the vote in the ward. He certainly drew DA voters away from the DA yesterday, his 13% could have made the difference between the DA losing the ward and holding onto the ward. There was not only a massive swing away from the DA to the ANC, but at the same time the DA had to contend with a former party man in ACDP colours. Turn-out was  59% compared to 63% in 2016.

The DA loses its outright control of Cederberg and might well end up losing the council to the ANC. The new council composition is DA 5(6) ANC 5 (4) AODC 1.

Local party AODC's Francina Sokuyeka will hold the balance of power and determine whether the DA holds on or loses power in the Cederberg.

Ward 6 in Matzikama (Klawer Trawal) in the Western Cape. ANC 50% (37%) DA 49% (57%) KSHP 1%

Matzikama is a DA-controlled municipality in the West Coast District of the Western Cape. Its principal towns are Vredendal and Klawer. The municipality has had a lot of political turbulence. It has had 2 DA Mayors and an ANC mayor in the space of a year. Ward 6’s biggest pool of voters is around Klawer, with the DA stronghold being in the town of Klawer and the small town of Trawal, while the ANC runs up the numbers in Klawer North. There is also a small rural voting district around the Vredehoek school area. The DA had to win the by-election to ensure continued control of the council.

This by-election shows how every single vote counts as the ANC won by a mere 18 votes. It might have been a narrow win, but the impact will be decisive as the DA will lose control of this municipality.

The ANC won in Matzikama by winning the Klawer Community Hall voting district off the ANC, and most importantly ran up the numbers in their Klawer North stronghold, with the DA being unable to do so in their strongholds around the Klawer Primary School district and Trawal.

In 2016, the DA carried the Klawer Community Hall district by over 160 votes, getting 56% of the vote, compared to the ANC’s 39%. Last night, the ANC won it by 34 votes, getting 51% of the vote, compared to the DA’s 47%.

In Klawer North, turn-out for the district was 61%, 8 percentage points higher than the next highest turn-out, and 12 and 27 percentage points higher than the turn-out in the two DA strongholds. The ANC won by 320 votes, in 2016 the margin was 200 votes.

At the Klawer Primary School district, the DA went from a 430 vote majority in 2016 to a 308 vote majority. In Trawal, the DA went from winning there by over 130 votes in 2016, to getting just more than 20 votes than the ANC last night. The DA got 73% of the vote in Trawal in 2016, last night that fell to 54%. The ANC went from 22% to 38% in the district.

In 2016, turn-out was at 62%. On Wednesday night it was 51%. A very good turn-out for a by-election.

The new Matzikama council composition is DA 7 (8) ANC 6 (5) EFF 1 United Democrats 1. Hennie Nel from the ANC should become the new mayor of Matzikama. David Jenner is the councillor for the United Democrats. He is the brother of the former provincial Independent Democrats (ID) leader, Sakkie Jenner. They have strong links to Matzikama politics. We know the EFF will back the ANC candidate for Mayor. David Jenner is the kingmaker and is expected to back the ANC.

Ward 12 in Mtubatuba (Shikishela) in KZN. ANC 56% (37%) IFP 41% (58%)

The IFP control Mtubatuba with the support of the DA. It is in the uMkhanyakude District of the province. Mtubatuba is the principal town in the Mtubatuba municipality. Ward 12 is centred around the village of Shikishela.

In 2016, the IFP won the ward by over 700 votes, last night the ANC won the ward by over 490 votes. The IFP was chalking up impressive result after impressive result in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The ANC threw out the script last night and made a big comeback in this part of the province.

In 2016, the ANC carried the most vote rich part of the ward by winning the Nkosane High voting district by just over 110 votes, getting 876 votes compared to the IFP’s 760. The IFP won the ward in 2016 by carrying the smaller Bhelebane Primary district by over 500 votes, getting 877 votes compared to the 262 votes of the ANC. They also carried the other parts of the ward.

On Wednesday night the ANC ran up the numbers at Nkosane High, increasing the 110 vote 2016 majority to just under 800 votes. A remarkable surge by the ANC. The IFP could only win Bhelebane Primary by 378 votes, well down from the 500 vote plus majority in 2016. The IFP also lost the other smaller voting districts to the ANC.

Turn-out in the by-election was 64%, just down from the 66% in 2016.

The new Mtubatuba council composition is IFP 18 (19)+ DA 2 + EFF 1 vs ANC 18 (17) + AIC 1. The IFP and DA can no longer govern without outside support of EFF in Mtubatuba. If EFF worked with ANC+AIC, the council would be deadlocked at 20 seats each.

Ward 23 (Matiwane) in Alfred Duma in KZN. ANC 50% (52%) IFP 46% (41%) NFP 3% EFF 1% (3%).

Alfred Duma is a new municipality which was formed after the 2016 local government elections when there was a merger between Emnambithi/Ladysmith and Indaka municipalities. The principal towns in the municipality are Ladysmith and Colenso. It sits in the uThukela District.

Ward 23 is a rural ward around Matiwane, which is north of Ladysmith.

The ANC only won by 269 votes in 2016. They carried four out of the five voting districts in the ward, but the largest voting district-Jononoskop School was carried by the IFP.

The ANC had a narrow victory  on Wednesday night, winning by 109 votes. They lost two voting districts to the IFP-Cwembe School and Thembela School. The latter by only one vote, but were able to flip the largest voting district by taking the Jononoskop School voting district from the ANC. In 2016 the IFP won it by 223 votes, on Wednesday night the ANC won it by 57 votes.

The IFP were able to grow in every voting district, bar the district they won in 2016. If they were able to replicate their 2016 showing in Jononoskop they would have won the ward. The ANC must have focused on this district as it is the most vote rich in the ward. This aided them in holding on to the ward.

Turn-out was 56%. In 2016 it was 65%.

Ward 16 (Zeerust Khunotswana) in Ramotshere Moiloa in the North West. ANC 43% (32%) DA 23% (27%) EFF 23% (8%) Ind-Cordier 11% (10%).

Ramotshere Moiloa is a North West municipality. Its principal town is Zeerust. Part of the municipality borders Botswana. It is part of the Ngaka Modiri Molema district.

Ward 16 includes parts of Zeerust, Khunotswana and a small rural district. In 2016 the ANC won the ward by under 100 votes. On the proportional ballot, the DA received 36% of the vote, and the ANC got 26% of the vote. This ward was a prime pickup opportunity for the DA. The DA’s chances of winning the ward from the ANC were boosted by the fact that the Vryheids Front Plus (VF+) decided to not contest here yesterday. In 2016, they got 13% of the ward vote and 14% of the proportional vote. What did not assist the DA was the fact that Independent candidate Donovan Cordier decided to run again. In 2016 he got 10% of the ward vote.

The DA fell well short of taking this ward off the ANC. The EFF came very close to beating them for second place. While turn-out was at 57% in Khunotswana. It was only 20% and 25% in the two Zeerust voting districts. In 2016 the DA won the largest voting district-Zeerust Town Hall by 64 votes, last night the ANC prevailed here by 28 votes.

The EFF beat the ANC in Khunotswana by 18 votes getting 207 votes compared to the ANC’s 189 votes. Crucially for the ANC, there 189 votes in Khunotswana was 175 more votes than what the DA got.

VF+ voters stayed away yesterday. They did not vote for the DA. While turn-out was well down from 2016 (51%), at 28%. The turn-out was especially down in the traditional DA districts. This allowed the ANC to win the ward by 209 votes, over the 96 vote majority in 2016.

Ward 4 (Borakalalo Motswedi) in Ramotshere Moiloa in the North West. ANC 71% (54%) EFF 17% (20%) Independent-Kodise 8% F4SD 4%.

This was the second by-election of the day in Ramotshere Moiloa and the ANC had a convincing win. The EFF got diminished returns and the Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) struggled.

Turn-out was 36%, down from the 48% in 2016.

These two results in Ramotshere Moiloa are great results for the ANC in a province which has been tricky for the party in 2018.

Ward 19 in Tshwane (Winterveldt) in Gauteng ANC 63% (79%) EFF 22% (11%) DA 9% (9%) Arusha Economic Coalition 6%.

Ward 19 is in Winterveldt on the edge of Tshwane, close to the border of the North West province.

While the ANC had a comfortable hold, this was their most disappointing result of the night. They won every voting district but had decreased returns in all the districts. The EFF doubled their vote percentage in the ward. This was a good result for them, considering the low turn-out.

Turn-out was a weak 23%. In 2016 it was 60%.

Ward 5 (Saldanha Jacobsbaai) in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape. DA 89% (84%) CAPE Party 8% ANC 3% (5%).

Saldanha Bay is a DA controlled municipality in the Western Cape. It is part of the West Coast District. The ward includes parts of Saldanha Bay and the village of Jacobsbaai.

This was the DA’s best result of the night. They were able to increase their majority in the ward. The result was the only bit of West Coast good news for them.

Turn-out was 32%, significantly down from the 72% poll in 2016.

Ward 10 (Bakenberg Haakdoring Mosate) in Mogalakwena in Limpopo. ANC 74% (72% PR*) EFF 20% (14% PR) PAC 3% COPE 2% UDM 1%.

Mogalakwena is an ANC controlled municipality in Limpopo. Its principal town is Mokopane. It is in the Waterberg District. This is a rural ward which is in the Bakenberg area and includes villages like Haakdoring and Mosate.

In 2016, an independent candidate, community leader September Majadibody got 36% of the vote on the ward ballot and gave the ANC a real fright, as they got under 50% of the ward vote. The ANC recruited him for this by-election and the ANC was able to slightly improve upon their showing on the proportional ballot. The EFF also had good growth here.

Turn-out was 45%, close to the 48% of 2016.

Conclusion

The ANC could not have asked for a better end to the by-election year. They have picked up three seats on a most rewarding night for them. They will be taking back Matzikama, a real chance of taking over Cederberg and have recreated the 2016 council composition in Mtubatuba.

The ANC also had great returns in Ramotshere Moiloa in the North West. They increased their majority in two wards there. The North West has been a difficult province for them in 2019.

The DA will have much to worry about the West Coast District of the Western Cape and concern about the Western Cape. They have lost two seats, and have certainly lost one, and possibly two municipalities in the West Coast District. They also failed to pick up the Ramotshere Moiloa seat in the North West.

The main focus for the EFF was always going to be the northern wards of Tshwane, Ramotshere Moiloa in the North West and Mogalakwena in Limpopo. They will be happy with the results in Tshwane and Khunotswana in Ward 16 in Ramotshere Moiloa.

The IFP could not put a foot wrong in Northern KZN in 2018. The Mtubatuba loss will be of great concern to the party. This has dented a steady momentum. The relative gains in Alfred Duma will give them some hope.

This concludes the by-election calendar for 2018. By-elections will resume on 8 January 2019. DM

* The proportional ballot (PR) result was used here as it is a more accurate reflection of the political leanings of the ward

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