By-elections were held in Ward 42 and Ward 46 in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Wednesday 5 November 2014.
These two wards are very interesting barometers for the forthcoming local government elections in 2016, where the DA has publicly stated that it intends wining this strategic metro municipality.
Uitenhage has been rocked by a number of violent service delivery protests over the past few years. The impact of these protests and the outcomes of yesterday’s by-elections are an ominous portent of things to come for the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
The DA has grown steadily in Ward 46, which incorporates a large chunk of KwaNobuhle. In the 2011 local government elections the DA got 22.43% of the vote, in the May 2014 national/provincial elections 23.21%, and in the November 2014 by-election 28%.
This indicates that the governing ANC cannot arrest the slide in support that brought them below 50% in the national/provincial election. This despite the frantic campaigning of senior ANC figures such as the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, no less.
The result in Ward 42, where an independent candidate beat the ANC, is an unmistakable sign that the party (ANC) is not bigger than the people. This result highlights the vulnerability of the ANC and this even without the contestation of the “new kid on the ANC’s block”, the EFF.
The low voter turnout in both wards (Ward 42, 46.5% and Ward 46, 35.36%) show that the ANC can no longer turn out their supporters at will.
The face of local government is set to change forever due to the woeful performance of the ANC in this sphere of government for so long. The ANC’s tolerance of chaotic and corrupt governance in the Metro under self-serving and/or inept leadership has finally come home to haunt them.
This result will surely be reverberating in the ears of the ANC national spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, and the ANC provincial secretary, Oscar Mabuyane, who both pronounced an emphatic ANC-victory.
This result shows that the ANC will not govern until “Christ returns”, rather that democracy and the wishes of the people is here to stay in a constitutionally democratic South Africa.
Athol Trollip, MPL
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