The results of the 30 September by-elections are in, and I’m blogging for the first time in over two months. I am going to apologise in advance for the informal and incomplete report on these by-elections. I’ve been busy at work, and I’m going to continue to be busy for the foreseeable future.
Please keep the faith with me, I have wanted to write for some weeks. Juicy topics have presented themselves to me and I’ve been too lazy / tired to bite. I’ll try again.
There are no pretty maps or tables for this report, which is a bit sad because these by-elections were the most interesting in a while. Here’s the skinny version:
11 wards were available but two were retained uncontested, one ANC ward and one DA ward. Nine wards were ultimately fought over: (6 ANC, 2 IFP, 1 DA). Of these, only three wards had been won with more than 60 per cent in the 2011 municipal elections and could have been considered safe for the incumbent (which was the ANC in all three cases).
The ANC retained five of its wards and also won wards off the DA and the IFP. The IFP lost a ward to the ANC and won one off the ANC. The DA won nothing.
In the Western Cape, the ANC won a ward in Theewaterskloof (Caledon) from the DA. The DA has now lost its majority in that council, slipping from 13 seats to 12 in the 25-seat council. The party can still rely on COPE (one seat) to retain a majority coalition, but it’s not a great situation to be in. COPE looks weak for next year and the DA has lost a lot of ground in the municipalities in the West Coast district.
The ANC also won a KwaZulu-Natal ward in uMlalazi (Eshowe) from the IFP. The party is closer to an absolute majority in the municipality, where it is currently the majority party in a coalition with the NFP.
If that had been the end of it, it would have been a good day out for the ANC. Unfortunately for the party and its supporters, it lost a ward in Hluhluwe (Big 5 False Bay) to the IFP. The IFP now has an absolute majority in the council (four out of seven seats).
The IFP now has four municipalities in the province. The party was left with just Ulundi after the 2011 municipal elections and was pretty much devastated by its losses to the NFP. In the December 2012 by-elections the IFP hit back, winning a ward in Hlabisa off the NFP and a ward in Nkandla from the ANC, giving it a majority in both municipalities. Wednesday’s win is the latest piece of good news for the party of Buthelezi.