The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) continued its winning streak against the African National Congress (ANC) in by-elections when it beat the governing party in Ward 13 of uMhlathuze Local Municipality.
Riding on the party's post-2021 municipal elections' momentum in KwaZulu-Natal, IFP candidate Sibusiso Ndunakazi swept the ANC off its perch in the ward.
The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of ANC councillor Lindokuhle Ndlovu, who left his job in fear after surviving an assassination attempt.
Ndunakazi defeated the ANC's Thandeka Makutshwa and the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF's) Lucky Nzima.
The IFP romped to victory with 2 724 votes (53.38% of the tally), ahead of the ANC's 2 348 (46.01%) and the EFF's 31 votes (0.61%).
The by-election outcome sets the scene for political dynamics which, on the face of it, appear to favour the IFP.
The party now has 25 seats on the council, which firmly positions it to share power equally with the ANC (which also has 25 seats).
The Democratic Alliance (DA) holds eight seats, the EFF six, while the Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party and National Freedom Party each have one seat – completing the City of uMhlathuze's 67 council seats.
Most of these parties, except the EFF, have known agreements with the IFP in the municipality.
IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli is alive to how the outcome has shifted the balance of power firmly in favour of his party in the municipality.
"This stunning victory in Ward 13 firmly positions the IFP to share equal representation with the ANC in the City of uMhlathuze council ... ushering in a new era of balanced political dynamics," he said.
Ntuli dedicated the win to the memory of late IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who died recently.
"This triumph stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Prince Buthelezi and reaffirms that the IFP remains a formidable force in South African politics," he said.
He added that the party's performance in Ward 13 represented the IFP's readiness to lead as "a dominant force in the province".
Meanwhile, in the North West-based Maquassi Hills Local Municipality's Ward 3, the EFF's Lehlohonolo Metoa pipped the ANC's Kediemetse Lefera by securing 798 votes (46.89% of the tally).
Lefera was second with 745 votes (43.77%), followed by the Patriotic Alliance's Kgomotso Lebese, who garnered 158 votes (9.28%).
Mpho Selete of the Active African Christians United Movement only managed one out of the 1 702 votes in Ward 3.
The ANC did manage a landslide win of its own in Madibeng's Ward 3 in the North West, obtaining 86% of the votes, while the EFF only managed to get 16%.
The governing party also secured a win in Limpopo's Ward 11 in Blouberg, securing 65% of the vote.