by Paul Berkowitz and Wayne Sussman
The tables below summarise the state of the 31 wards contested on Wednesday. Remember that there are also 6 PR seats (3 in Inkwanca and 3 in Mooi Mpofana) and 16 district council seats in Ngaka Modiri Molewa that are up for grabs:
The ANC is defending 26 of the 31 wards on Wednesday, although a handful of the wards will be uncontested. The party is facing a challenge from the DA, COPE and the AIC in all four wards in Inkwanca, although only Ward 2 should be a concern.
In Ward 7 of Maluti a Phofung, the ANC is defending a ward it won with 52% in 2011 (Dikwankwetla Party 30%, independent 12%). The party could pick up some votes as the independent is not running.
The ANC is defending four wards in Mooi Mpofana, where the council was dissolved. The municipality has been in the spotlight after DA councilor and candidate Ken Dennyschen was electrocuted. It remains to be seen whether Dennyschen’s tragic death has any impact on Wednesday’s vote.
The ANC will also benefit by the fact that none of the expelled councilors will contest their old seats as Independents.
Two of the four wards might be difficult for the ANC to defend. In the 2011 elections, the ANC won 59% of the vote in Ward 2 (DA 32%, NFP 5%, IFP 4%). The ANC should retain this seat. Part of the reason for the DA’s strong showing here is that this ward incorporates part of the Midlands Meander.
The IFP will hope that it can pull of an upset in Ward 4. The party lost the ward to the ANC by fewer than 100 votes in 2011. The ANC received 42% of the vote (1 088 votes) to the IFP’s 38% (989 votes). The IFP will hope to win some votes off disgruntled NFP voters (the party polled 15% of the vote in 2011) and will also hope for a poor showing by ANC voters.
The NFP will fight to retain Ward 19 in Ulundi. The party won the seat in 2011 with 43% of the vote (811 votes) to the IFP’s 41% (784 seats). The IFP has 28 of the 47 seats in the Ulundi council and managed to successfully defend one of its wards in a 2012 by-election. If voters have tired of the NFP, the IFP stands a good chance of increasing its tally in council.
The ANC is defending 13 ward seats in Mogalakwena (Potgietersrus) after it expelled a number of ward and PR councillors for colluding with opposition parties.
The party has a strong majority in most wards but could face a challenge in Ward 28. The EFF has decided to challenge the ANC in all wards except for Wards 13, 17 and 19. Wards 13 and 17 are uncontested.
The EFF is the official opposition, winning 12% of the national and provincial vote in the 2014 elections (ANC received 77%).
The ANC will also be defending a handful of wards in Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape. The DA is defending a couple of wards in the Western Cape also:
The ANC will retain the Mkhondo and Govan Mbeki wards unopposed. The part faces a challenge from an independent in Umjindi, Mr Bongani Motha.
Mr Motha is also the EFF branch chair and has been endorsed by the EFF.
The ANC will defend its Kai !Garib seat against COPE and an independent. It is not clear why the DA isn’t contesting this ward, as the party won 27% of the vote in the 2011 elections.
All four Western Cape seats are in the Overberg district. The DA will fight hard to retain the Theewaterskloof seat. The party won with 56% in 2011 (ANC 37%) and defended the seat in an April 2012 by-election with just 52% to the ANC’s 48%. The DA’s margin of victory in the 2014 general elections was also very close – just 172 votes separated the two parties in the provincial ballot and only 72 votes separated the two in the national vote.
Two wards will be contested in Overstrand (Ward 7 will be retained by the DA unopposed, which itself is a bit unusual). Both the DA ward and the ANC ward should be safely retained by the parties. The EFF is challenging the ANC in Ward 5.