By Zukile Majova
As early as 6am on Wednesday, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had already set up information desks outside various voting stations at Ditsobotla Local Municipality.
This is ahead of the massive by-election which will elect new councillors and Proportional Representation in 20 wards.
Factional battles in the ANC-controlled municipality forced the government to dissolve it and the National Treasury to withhold their budget.
At the height of the political capture of this municipality in Lichtenburg, it had two mayors, two deputy mayors and two speakers of council.
The ANC dominance in the area has been on a steady decline from 61% in 2016 to 53% after the November 2021 elections.
A coalition of opposition parties — EFF 17%, DA 15%, FF+ 4% and F4SD 4% — has a real chance of bringing the ruling party below 50% after the by-election.
Last week Malema hit the campaign trail to Bodibe village, Coligny and Boikhutso where he demanded free basic services including electricity for the indigent.
“Every house must get electricity and that electricity must be free of charge, especially houses that are owned by grandparents because they are not working, because they are receiving Sassa grants.”
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said his party is fielding candidates in all 20 wards, setting the stage for another battle in wards dominated by DA voters.
President Cyril Ramaphosa who campaigned in the area last week, promised residents his government will fix the council if given another chance.
“Your municipality is rotten. It is rotten. That is why we as the national government decided to dissolve this municipality so we can choose new councillors,” he told residents.
“Those who were there did not show they cared about this municipality. They wasted our time, wasted the money and stole it.”
In other by-elections, the ANC is defending five wards in Mkhondo Municipality in Mpumalanga where the party expelled its five councillors for deliberately giving control of the council to opposition.
The IEC said 457 candidates including seven independent candidates are contesting today’s bumper by-elections which will result in the election of 45 councillors in the North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
Pictured above: EFF in Ditsobotla
Image source: EFF