DA retains ward in uMngeni election

2013-02-01 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance retained Ward 5 in uMngeni Municipality during a by-election held on Wednesday.

The party recorded a marginal two percent increase in votes when its candidate, John Lewis, defeated the ANC’s Mlungisi Msomi for control of the ward, which became vacant when the DA’s Tim Lindsay-White resigned.

Lewis, a former mayor of Bedfordview in Ekurhuleni, told The Witness that rates and maladministration would be his main focus.

“Pensioners on fixed incomes cannot afford rates increases,” he said.

Lewis said the party had made great strides in rooting out corruption and he would be continuing to fight maladministration.

The municipal budget would be one of the first things he would tackle in his first 100 days.

“We will get the services out of the council that the community deserves,” he added.

Lewis secured 2 213 votes compared to Msomi’s 457. The DA obtained 2 567 and the ANC 551 votes in the 2011 municipal elections.

Although the turnout had dropped from 78,06% of voters registered in the local government elections to 61,79% in Wednesday’s by-elections, the DA’s support base rose by two percent to 82,88% of the total votes polled in the ward long held by the party.

Yesterday, the DA in KwaZulu-Natal hailed its win as a sign that voters were feeling confident in the DA’s ability to represent the communities in which they lived.

“Today’s results were encouraging for us,” DA KZN leader Sizwe Mchunu said.

“They were, in a way, a huge endorsement of our party’s vision for a transparent and accountable government for both the uMngeni Municipality and KZN as a whole.”

Constituency MP Greg Krumbock said the DA had won in uMngeni because the Howick community had turned out in droves to cast their ballots in favour of the party.

“The poll of 61,1 % is exceptionally high for a by-election, especially since the Howick phone lines were down for most of the morning,” Krumbock said.

But ANC provincial spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the party did not take its performance in the by-election as a defeat, and it was pleased voters had voted for the ANC despite a low turn-out by its voters in the traditionally DA ward.

In other by-elections held in the Western Cape, the DA retained Ward 22 in the City of Cape Town when Johanna Martlow was named the new councillor.

But the DA lost to the ANC in the Ceres-based Witzenberg Municipality after Piet Waterboer crossed the floor and stood against his former party.

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