Race is on for four vacant wards

By Lungani Zungu

The race to win the four wards that are up for grabs is expected to heat up during the crucial by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape on Wednesday.

Two Independent candidates and eighteen contenders from 10 political parties are all eyeing the top prize: total control of the vacant wards.

The ANC – which has lost crucial wards to IFP in recent by-elections – is fighting to retain ward 4 in Mtubatuba Local Municipality. The ward became vacant after the ANC councillor Ndumiso Zuma resigned in November.

So fierce is the by-election in that ward that on Tuesday the ANC accused an IFP of allegedly trying to persuade an elderly woman to vote for the IFP during the special voting.

The ANC’s Mandla Kunene is up against Kenneth Mngadi of the EFF, IFP’s Ntokozo Mtimkhulu and Thokozani Zungu from the United Christian Democracy Party (UCDP).

The voter turnout was 40.44% during the 2021 municipal elections.

Another bruising contest is expected in ward 31 in Newcastle Municipality, where Team Sugar South Africa (TSSA) used every muscle to defend this ward – including showering the residents with cool gifts.

Double beds, microwaves, fridges and stoves were among the gifts TSSA leader, Musa “Shukela” Thwala, gave residents ahead of the contest today.

The results of ward 31 will determine which party between the ANC and IFP-led coalition will lead the municipality that is currently led by an IFP coalition backed by TSSA.

The by-election was called following the death of TSSA councillor Nokusa “Mroza” Khumalo in November.

The IFP and TSSA have agreed to back Sindisiwe Mashazi from TSSA. The IFP was forced to campaign for TSSA’s Mashazi and not its candidate Mxolisi Mkhwanazi after the parties struck this deal.

An Independent candidate Nkosingiphile Shabalala is contesting along with the ANC’s Nkosinathi Vilane and Linda Mnguni of the EFF.

Ward 6 in the Western Cape’s Cederberg Municipality is another battlefield today.

The ward is contested by Andre Mouton, representing the Cederberg First Residents Association (CFRA), which governed the ward until its councillor resigned, paving the way for the by-election.

The ANC’s Paul Wynand, Marlene Zass from the EFF, and Thomas Francois Waldeck from the PA are all eyeing the ward.

The last by-election is being held in ward  5 under Cape Agulhas Municipality. The ward was governed by the DA but was left vacant after the party terminated the membership of the councillor.

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