The ANC got a bloody nose on Wednesday, losing two wards in by-elections, while retaining one ward in eThekwini. The DA held on to a ward it was defending in the Western Cape.

In KwaZulu-Natal the ANC defended ward 103 in eThekwini, with its candidate winning 43.9% of the vote, up from the 38% the party had won in last year’s general municipal poll. The DA managed 22.3% and the EFF 2.1%. An independent, Mthetheleli Sibisi, pushed the ANC hard, winning 30.6% of the vote. In last year’s local government election in the ward, Sibisi had also done well, winning a quarter of the vote

In Enoch Mgijima (Queenstown) in the central Eastern Cape the ANC lost a seat to an independent, Ntombekhaya Kortman. She had narrowly lost to the ANC’s candidate in last year’s local election, winning 815 votes to the ANC’s 819. However, on Wednesday she snatched the ward away from the ANC by a much more comfortable margin, winning 57.2% of the vote against the ANC’s 42%. The EFF also put up a candidate but the Red Berets managed less than one percent of the vote.

The by-election was necessary after Kortman had gone to court over irregularities in the election held in the ward last year. A court set aside the result and ordered a rerun in the ward, which saw Kortman emerge as the winner on Wednesday.

Although the EFF did poorly in eThekwini and Enoch Mgijima this week it was a different story for the party in Phokwane (Hartswater) in the Northern Cape. Here it managed to unseat the ANC. 

On Wednesday its candidate, Olebogeng Tumodi, won Phokwane’s ward 3 with 55.6% of the vote, with the ANC trailing with 43%. A candidate from the Patriotic Alliance (PA) managed just over one percent.

Tumodi had previously been a mayor of the municipality and had represented the ward for the ANC before his expulsion from the party.

The ANC has now lost its narrow majority in the 19-seat council. It now has nine seats, with the EFF holding five, the DA two, and with one each for the Freedom Front Plus, the Phokwane Service Delivery Forum, and the Forum for Service Delivery. It remains to be seen whether the ANC will approach one of the smaller parties to help govern the municipality or whether the five opposition parties will form a coalition to boot the ANC out.

In Witzenberg (Ceres) in the Western Cape the DA retained a seat in a hard-fought battle, where four parties won more than 10% of the vote. The DA won 32.7% of the vote on Wednesday but still managed to emerge victorious. The ANC came second with 29%, with the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa winning the bronze with 13.6%, closely followed by the PA with 13.4%. GOOD narrowly missed out on getting into double figures, winning 9.8% of the vote. 

Overall the DA will be pretty happy with its performance on Wednesday, retaining a seat in a very competitive ward. Conversely, the ANC emerged victorious in only one out of three contests and may have lost power in Phokwane – perhaps a portent ahead of the general election in 2024.


Marius Roodt is currently deputy editor of the Daily Friend and also consults on IRR campaigns. This is his second stint at the Institute, having returned after spells working at the Centre for Development and Enterprise and a Johannesburg-based management consultancy. He has also previously worked as a journalist, an analyst for a number of foreign governments, and spent most of 2005 and 2006 driving a scooter around London. Roodt holds an honours degree from the Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg) and an MA in Political Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand.