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Super Wednesday: ANC likely to emerge as biggest by-election winner, says analyst


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PHOTO: Vathiswa Ruselo, Gallo Images/Sowetan

  • A political analyst says the ANC is likely to emerge as the biggest winner in the 95 by-elections being held across the country.
  • The DA has called on voters not to let their wards fall to the ANC and “corruption”.
  • The ANC meanwhile says their ward councillor selection process has been designed to advance “people’s power in action”.

With close to 100 wards being contested across the country, it appears the ANC has the easiest route to victory.

It will, however, struggle in the country’s economic capital of Johannesburg where, since the 2016 local government elections, the party has been unable to clinch an outright majority.

Election analyst Wayne Sussman has told News24 that parties like the DA and IFP will struggle to win wards from the ANC.

“When one looks at the 19 wards that are being contested in the Eastern Cape, it’s clear that the ANC will win all of them. The IFP could easily lose some of the wards it has previously governed. For the DA, towns like George, Saldanha Bay and Knysna in the Western Cape could prove difficult. Smaller parties have been running massive campaigns and we know that the governance situation in Knysna was not the best,” he said.

READ | Keep your ward blue, DA leader John Steenhuisen tells voters ahead of by-elections

Sussman said newly elected DA leader John Steenhuisen will need more time to make an impact at local level, while the ANC’s factional issues could hurt the party at the polls.

A total of 95 wards ware being be contested – the largest number of municipal by-elections to ever be held on a single day.

Sussman said the EFF was expected to eat into the ANC traditional voter base, while the DA could lose votes to parties like GOOD and the Freedom Front Plus.

“In a metro like Johannesburg, the ANC would want to get a firm grip. The EFF is also there ready to take some votes away from the ANC. The ANC will, however, want to retain votes to prove that they are still the first option for voters,” he said.

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ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, in a statement, said the party saw local government as a doorstep of democracy.

Mabe also said the party’s ward councillor selection process was designed to advance people’s power in action.

“The ANC calls on all its members and supporters, as well as all those eligible, to go and exercise their democratic right by choosing local councillors who will best advance the delivery of basic services in local communities. We call on all South Africans who will be participating in these by-elections across different parts of the country to adhere to health protocols and to maintain social distancing at different polling stations where voting is taking place,” he said.

DA federal chairperson Ivan Meyer called on voters not to let their wards fall to the ANC and “corruption”.

“Our country is deeply wounded, especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now is the time to start recovering. The DA is the only party that is big enough, and has a proven track record in good and clean service delivery. We ask you to please take part in this historic democratic moment in our country and go to your nearest ballot box and help us win wards across the country,” he said.


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