The African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) retained their council seats in by-elections in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which took place on Wednesday, with low voter turnout and no notable surprises in the outcomes.
Though with a slight decline, the DA's new councillor in the Ekurhuleni metro's ward 25 is Daniel Putter, who retained his party's seat, which it won in the 2021 municipal elections, with 66.1% of the total votes cast, compared to 69.7% during the municipal elections.
Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) spokesperson Kate Bapela pegged the voter turnout at 25.6% in this ward.
The DA's Yvonne Combrinck retained the Lesedi Municipality's ward 8 in Gauteng, with an increase to 52.45% of the total votes cast from the 50.8% won during the 2021 municipal elections, the IEC said.
Voter turnout in this ward was at 32.3%.
DA leader Daniel Mea, 27, romped to victory in the eThekwini metro's Chatsworth-based ward 73, beating former DA leader Ronnie Pillay.
Mea retained the DA's seat, which it won in the 2021 municipal elections, with 81.7% of the total votes, compared to 67.4% during the local elections in 2021. The voter turnout in Chatsworth was 27.2%.
Mea's victory is significant in that he beat a veteran councillor, who had received the backing of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had campaigned in the ward in early May.
The ANC's support dipped in the Mandeni Municipality's ward 15, even though it retained the ward. The ANC's new councillor Ngcebo Dludla won 67.9% of the total votes cast, in contrast to 70% garnered during the 2021 municipal elections.
According to the IEC, the voter turnout on 24 May was 36.37%. In brief statements, the ANC in KZN thanked people in the Mandeni and uMzimkhulu municipalities for their votes.
DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Francois Rodgers said their single, significant ward win has buoyed the party ahead of the 2024 general election.
"The DA in KZN is humbled and elated by the trust that residents continue to have in the DA," Rodgers said of the Chatsworth by-election win with 81.7% in support, up from the 67.5% in 2021.
He took a swipe at former DA councillor Pillay, who ran on the ANC's ticket.
"This despite the ANC's bogus claims that they welcomed hundreds of 'former DA members' members who, to date, the DA does not recognise," he said.
"The ANC once again proved its desperation to win at any cost. Post-President Ramaphosa's visit to ward 73, the ANC has been hard at work handing out [SA Social Security Agency] food vouchers to voters, including on voting day."
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