This is the third of four previews looking at the 24 by-elections being held on 9 December. Here’s a rundown of what to expect in three of the northern provinces, with plenty of attention on Ekurhuleni in Gauteng.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) went 0/4 in defending their four Gauteng seats in the last round of by-elections.
They lost seats to the ANC in Emfuleni (Arcon Park Vereeniging) and in Johannesburg (Lenasia South Unaville). They also lost seats to Al-Jamah and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) in Johannesburg, losing out in Lenasia and Riverlea Pennyville respectively.
It was a breakthrough moment for the PA and Al-Jamah as they doubled their representation in the City of Johannesburg.
The ANC would also look at the result in Emfuleni and remind the doubting Thomases that the public has enduring faith in the party to retain the municipality. The ANC also held all three seats they were defending in Ekurhuleni, losing little, if any, ground.
Mzwandile Masina, the mayor of Ekurhuleni, and the ANC activists in that metro were the unsung heroes of the ruling party in Gauteng in the 2019 elections as they got their supporters out to the polls and ensured that the ANC won a narrow, yet outright majority.
Ekurhuleni has been the model ANC pupil of the three Gauteng metros and often covered for the electoral blemishes of the more fancied Johannesburg and Tshwane.
Masina and the ANC in Ekurhuleni withstood an EFF challenge in Tembisa Winnie Mandela on Super Wednesday, and will now look at turning Ward 42 (Ramaphosa Elspark) in Ekurhuleni into a safe seat rather than one where the DA and the EFF might spot an opportunity.
The DA will have a chance to make up for the Super Wednesday’s Gauteng horror show and retain two wards in Benoni.
Ward 27 (Benoni Northmead Rynfield) in Ekurhuleni. DA (92%), ANC (4%), VF+ (2%). Poll (72%)
Ward 27 is a ward in the Benoni suburbs, northeast of the town centre. In 2016, the DA ran up the numbers here.
However, the Freedom Front Plus (VF+) got 12% of the vote here on the provincial ballot in 2019, while the DA’s percentage vote share fell to 77%.
The DA will not just have to worry itself with the VF+ here. Former ward councillor Jacques Meiring left the party and joined GOOD. He then quit GOOD and joined the ANC. He will contest the by-election as the ANC candidate and, although a long shot, he could dent the DA’s big majority in this ward.
Audrey Steyn is running as an independent. She has been endorsed by Herman Mashaba. Mashaba will want to show that his appeal is not limited to Johannesburg and that he has suburban sway in the east of the province as well. The EFF is also on the ballot here.
Ward 28 (Benoni Farramere Lakefield) in Ekurhuleni. DA (91%), ANC (6%), VF+ (2%). Poll (69%)
This ward is north and west of the town centre and is another safe DA seat in Ekurhuleni. Its losses were not as pronounced here in 2019 as they were in Ward 27.
Malanie Haggard, the former DA ward councillor, is running as an independent. She is up against Mary Goby, the former DA ward councillor who lost out to Haggard in 2016 in the DA candidate selection process. Herman Mashaba has also endorsed Haggard. The ANC and EFF are also on the ballot here.
Ward 42 (Ramaphosa Elspark) in Ekurhuleni. ANC (44%), DA (37%), EFF (15%). Turnout (58%)
Ramaphosa Elspark is near Reiger Park on the outskirts of Boksburg, bordering Germiston. The ward includes Elsburg, south of Ramaphosa, which is on the other side of the N17 highway, next to Wadeville and Klippoortjie, below Elspark.
This was a tight contest in 2016 with the ANC prevailing by just over 700 votes. The margin was much higher in 2019, with the ANC accruing just under 2,720 votes more than the DA. The ANC got 49% of the vote here in 2019 on the provincial ballot, with the DA getting 27% and the EFF remaining on 15%.
The bulk of the voters cast their votes in Ramaphosa. The ANC has traditionally won here by a large margin, with the EFF coming second.
The DA’s biggest reservoir of votes is in Elspark. It will want to maximise turnout there. Elsburg has also been more positively disposed towards the DA in the past. This is a smaller, competitive district.
In 2019, the DA got 138 more votes than the ANC in this district. Klippoortjie is the remaining voting district; one which makes the ward less competitive as the ANC tends to win handsomely here.
Ward 42 is one of the wards where the EFF will really want to make its mark in the final round of by-elections for the year. The African Independent Congress (AIC) is the fourth and final party on the ballot.
There were four by-elections in Limpopo on Super Wednesday. The ANC had comfortable holds in all of them, and they would have been happiest about their solid win in a Seshego by-election in Polokwane.
The EFF’s best comparative returns on the night came in a Greater Giyani by-election where they more than doubled their percentage support in Blinkwater Ximausa.
Ward 1 (Tshipise Musina Extension 1) in Musina. ANC (64%), DA (29%), EFF (4%). Poll 52%
This ward in the Vhembe district stretches from Musina extension 1 to Tshipise and includes the farming districts between the two towns and villages off the R525 between Tshipise and Pafuri Gate at Kruger National Park.
The ward has 10 voting districts. The ANC is dominant in eight of the districts, which includes Tshipise, and the bulk of the farming districts including the Doreen area.
The DA gets most of its votes in one district – Musina extension 1. The Bokmakierie farming district is the most competitive district in the ward.
In 2019, the ANC got 70% of the provincial ballots in this ward, while the DA’s percentage vote share fell dramatically to 14%. The VF+ came third here with 8% of the vote, while the EFF finished on 5%.
The two parties taking on the ANC in this by-election are the DA and the EFF.
Ward 20 (Wegdraai Slaaphoek) in Blouberg. ANC (74%), DA (14%), EFF (10%). Poll (53%)
Blouberg is in the Capricorn district of the province, which includes Polokwane. Blouberg is north and north west of Polokwane. The municipality also borders Botswana. The municipality includes the towns of Alldays and My Darling.
Ward 20 is north of the Wonderkop nature reserve near the Botswana border. It lies between Tolwe and Maasstroom. Most voters are concentrated next to the Zingela nature reserve in Wegdraai and Slaaphoek.
The ANC and the official opposition in Limpopo, the EFF, are the only parties contesting here. The ANC will want to get more than 80% in this by-election. This ward has nine voting districts including one in Maasstroom, which was carried by the VF+ in 2019. It will be interesting to see what the turnout at this district in Maasstroom will be in this by-election.
The ANC caused a major upset by shocking the DA in a Madibeng by-election centred around Broederstroom in the last by-election.
It also had a convincing hold in two Ikageng by-elections in JB Marks (Potchefstroom) and sent a message to opposition parties who think Rustenburg might be in play in 2021 when they did not give an inch in a competitive by-election in Chaneng.
The EFF had good growth in a Moretele by-election in Mmakaunyane, where they more than tripled their percentage vote share in the ward, getting 39% of the vote. However, they would have been concerned with their weak showing in the Rustenburg by-election.
The VF+ took another ward off the DA in the North West when they won a ward in JB Marks in Potchefstroom South. With that win, the VF+ became the third largest party on the JB Marks council.
There is only one by-election in the province this time around.
Ward 10 (Mareetsane) in Ratlou. ANC (56%), F4SD (17%), DA (10%), EFF (6%). Turnout (57%)
Ratlou is in the Ngaka Modiri Molema district of the province and includes Mahikeng. Ratlou is a rural municipality with its seat of power in Setlagole. Parts of the municipality borders Botswana.
Mareetsane, where ward 10 is a farming area, lies on the regional R375 road linking the town of Sannieshof with the N18 national road.
The ANC finished well ahead of a large field in 2016, but still received less than 60% of the vote.
The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) came second here in 2016, but fell away in 2019 and is not on the ballot for this by-election.
The ANC got 70% of the vote on the provincial ballot here in 2019, with the EFF receiving 10%.
The DA secured second place here in 2019 with 15% of the vote, but is sitting out this by-election.
The EFF and an independent candidate, Matlhomola Mogudu, will compete for second place. DM