May 6 by-elections Part 2: ANC almost takes Mtubatuba

8 May 2015
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The preview I did for Mtubatuba can be found here, but I’ll reproduce most of the info so you don’t have to flip back and forth.

The municipality is in KwaZulu-Natal. Here’s a map of the region (province in green, district in yellow), municipality in red):

Mtubatuba and the Umkhanyakude district

Mtubatuba and the Umkhanyakude district

The municipality is in the Umkhanyakude district, in the north-east of the KwaZulu-Natal province. The municipality absorbed a number of wards from Hlabisa, to the west, after the 2011 municipal elections.

There are 19 wards in the municipality. After the 2011 municipal elections the ANC controlled 10 wards and the IFP controlled 9.

With a majority of 20 seats needed in the 38-seat council, there was no outright winner in the municipality after the 2011 elections, and the ANC formed a coalition with the NFP:

Mtubatuba council seats - post-2011 elections

Mtubatuba council seats – post-2011 elections

There were only three parties (ANC, IFP, NFP) contesting the 2011 elections but six parties competed on May 6 in the by-elections and all six won representation in the municipal council. (We’ll look at what that might mean for coalition politics)

The ward vote is hotly contested and about half of the wards were possible swing wards in the by-elections. When the dust had settled, the ANC had won three wards off the IFP and the IFP had won a ward off the ANC. The table below compares the 2011 election results with the 6 May by-election results:

By-election results in Mtubatuba - ward seats

By-election results in Mtubatuba – ward seats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ANC won Wards 9, 10 and 11 from the IFP and the IFP won Ward 15 from the ANC, but the table shows that a number of other wards could have easily changed hands also. The vote remains divided in most wards: four wards were won with less than 50 per cent and another six wards were won with less than 55 per cent of the vote.

The maps below show how ward control has shifted between the 2011 elections and the recent by-elections:

Ward victories, 2011 and 2015 by-elections

Ward victories, 2011 and 2015 by-elections

 

Although the map on the right looks more tidy, with both the ANC and IFP now controlling contiguous blocks of wards, most of these wards are heavily contested and the maps could change again in the future. The western wards controlled by the IFP are on the border of Hlabisa, where the party is also strong.

That’s the story of the ward seats: 12 ANC, 7 IFP after the dust settled. The PR story was more complicated, with six parties competing, up from three. The final seat tally is in the table below:

Seat allocations in Mtubatuba - 2001 elections vs. 6 May by-elections

Seat allocations in Mtubatuba – 2001 elections vs. 6 May by-elections

The ANC improved its tally by two seats, the IFP held steady while the NFP lost five seats, The DA, African Independent Congress (AIC) and the EFF all won a PR seat.

In both elections no party emerged with a majority of the seats, and a coalition will need to be formed to govern the municipality.

The most likely coalition is a repeat of the ANC-NFP alliance, but that would not be without its challenges. The NFP has clearly taken a hit in these elections and many people believe that the party’s alliance with the ANC has resulted in the kiss of death at the polls. On the other hand, a weakened and vulnerable NFP might be easier for the ANC to boss around.

Another option is for the ANC to form a coalition with the AIC and the EFF, Allying with the AIC would be easier than getting the EFF onside. A third, even more hypothetical coalition would include all opposition parties (IFP, NFP, DA, AIC and EFF).

The ANC had a very good day at the polls but fell just short of a majority (or even of forcing a hung council). The ANC-NFP alliance is likely to keep chugging along until at least next year’s municipal elections.

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2 thoughts on “May 6 by-elections Part 2: ANC almost takes Mtubatuba

  1. Pingback: Another example of municipal seat allocation: Mtubatuba by-elections | paul berkowitz

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