ANC comes under by-election strain

Julius Malema (on the right) with Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (left), an EFF Member of Parliament. The EFF's support in week's municipal by-elections have shown a mixed bag - it did badly in one ward, and not so well in two others.

Five municipal by-elections have painted a mixed picture of performance of  South Africa’s two big parties – the Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress – around the country. The ANC won four of the five by-elections, but three areas were won with massively reduced overall winning margins. The DA improved its position in two seats in which it stood. The picture is mixed for the EFF, but an independent almost caused an upset, while the Forum 4 Delivery is polling strongly

In two wards in Buffalo City – which is the municipal name for the geographical city of East London in the Eastern Cape – the ANC and DA rocketed to victory.

In ward 18, a traditionally leafy part of the city at Nahoon, the DA gained 95.92 percent in a 38.3 percent poll. This was up from 88.08 percent in the ward in the general municipal poll of 2016. The DA won 3032 votes to the ANC’s 123 while the Congress of the People won just four votes. The Economic Freedom Fighters gained just two votes.

In the second seat in Buffalo City, ward 21, the ANC got just short of 90 percent – 89.98 percent of the vote to be exact – in a 28,9 percent percentage poll. The ANC got 76 percent of the vote in 2016 in this ward – in a 50,8 percent poll.

The ANC gained 1831 votes in ward 21 compared to the EFF which gained just 189 votes, putting it in second place. Cope garnered just 15 votes in the ward – putting it in last place in the largely-black ward. The DA did not stand.

In ward nine at the Ngquza Hill municipality of the Eastern Cape, the ANC vote was down to 61.21 percent in the by-election on Wednesday – from 83.07 percent in 2016. The percentage poll was down to 37,93 percent from 2016’s 53.6 percent.

The ANC received 972 votes in Nqquza while the DA came in a strong second place at just short of 400 votes – 396 to be exact – with the African People’s Convention gaining 191 votes followed by the EFF at 29.

In 2016, the ANC received 5154 votes or 81.63 percent of the vote. The EFF on this occasion received the second highest number at 467 votes or 7.4 percent of the vote. The DA came in third in this general municipal poll with 382 votes or 6,05 percent. The APC polled 110 votes or 1.74 percent then. The African Independent Congress polled 101 votes or 1.6 percent in 2016 in the ward. 

This means that the DA has displaced the EFF as the second strongest political party in this ward with the APC moving up to third place.

Ngquza municipality is headquartered in Lusikisiki and is part of the Oliver Tambo district municipality. It is divided into 32 wards. The area was originally part of the Transkei homeland. Lusikisiki is not far from Port St John’s.

Meanwhile, in Mpumalanga the ANC struggled to retain a ward in the JS Moroka municipality’s ward seven. It gained just 41.06 percent of the vote in a 51 percent poll, down from 70.17 percent in 2016.

On Wednesday the ANC gained 827 votes, an independent came in a very close second with 818 votes, the EFF came in third with 293 and the Forum for Service Delivery received 66 votes.

In 2016 the ANC got 4426 votes,  the EFF gained 1026 votes or 16.3 percent and the DA was in third place with 568 or 9,06 percent.

In ward four of the  Ganyesa/Pomfret municipality in the North West – a province where the Economic Freedom Fighters have recently started to show good performances in municipal contests – the ANC vote was substantially down to 49.08 percent. This was down from 72.86 percent, according to the Independent Electoral Commission.

The percentage poll in Ganyesa was reasonably high for a by-election at 48.28 percent, down only slightly from 51.52 percent in 2016.

On Wednesday a civic organisation won the second highest number of votes. While the African National Congress polled 853 votes, the Forum 4 Service Delivery polled strongly with 459 votes, while the EFF came in third place with 388 votes. The combined opposition – of three parties – won 885 votes, but this included 38 votes garnered by the United Christian Democratic Party, once led by Boputhatswana president Lucas Mangope.

In 2016 in this ward the ANC won 4017 votes. The EFF polled strongly with 746 votes or 13.44 percent, with the DA in third place with 357 votes. The UCDP won 3.46 percent then or 192 votes. The Forum 4 Service Delivery won just 74 votes that time or 1.33 percent – this means it has shown a spectacular rise in support in this week’s by-election.

The results indicate a definite swing away from the traditionally-rampant ANC in the North West. The EFF recently won a municipal by-election in Coligny in the province.

Thus overall, although the ANC won four by-elections on Wednesday, three of them were with a substantially reduced margins  – just one showed an improved performance for the national ruling party.

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