By Lungani Zungu
Three by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal, in Dannhauser, Mtubatuba, and Msunduzi, set tensions rising – and that was even before a single vote was cast on Wednesday.
One of the ward elections was postponed, in the second ward an ANC candidate was disqualified and in the third one the local mayor was accused of buying votes with food parcels.
The battle for the control of Ward 12 in Dannhauser local municipality under Amajuba District Municipality will only be fought on 8 March after the election was postponed. This was due to an objection about the voters’ roll.
The KZN provincial electoral officer, Ntombifuthi Masinga told the SABC that the Electoral Court agreed to the postponement after they realised that they could not resolve the disputes on time.
In Ward 9 in Mtubatuba, the ANC missed the deadline to pay the deposit for their candidate and the Electoral Court ruled that he could not stand in the election.
The ward became vacant after the resignation of an ANC councillor after falling out with party leaders. The municipality is currently controlled by an IFP-EFF coalition, with the IFP’s Mxolisi Mthethwa in the mayor’s seat.
The ANC’s troubles pave the way for the IFP to snatch the seat without breaking into a sweat as it is the most prominent party in the ward.
The IEC said more than 4,000 registered voters are expected to trek to the voting stations in Ward 9, which will close at 9pm.
In Msunduzi’s closely contested Ward 28, voting day on Wednesday started with claims by the DA that the ANC was dishing out food parcels to persuade voters to vote for them.
This was after the area’s mayor, Mzimkhulu Thebolla, was seen handing out food parcels to a resident. He is also the ANC chairperson in the Moses Mabhida region.
Despite this, the DA’s provincial deputy chairperson Sithembiso Ngema is confident that the party will successfully defend the ward. The DA left nothing to chance and even deployed its leader John Steenhuisen to address a community meeting ahead of the by-election.
The ward became vacant after the DA ended former councillor Lucky Naicker’s membership. Naicker is now contesting the ward as an independent candidate.
The ANC electioneering leaders, including the party’s provincial executive committee member, Super Zuma, were grilled by residents about the failure over the years to provide proper houses and clean running water.
More than 9,000 registered voters are expected to vote in the area, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Pictured above: Msunduzi Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla seen handing over a food parcel to a resident
Image source: Supplied