DA secures by-election victory in Nelson Mandela Bay

2018-03-08 18:53
IEC voting station. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP, file)

IEC voting station. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP, file)

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Port Elizabeth – The DA has retained possession of Ward 1 in a by-election in Nelson Mandela Bay.

This comes after former Ward 1 councillor Rashied Adams had his DA membership terminated by the DA's federal executive over unpaid tithes.

Wednesday's by-election saw an overwhelming majority of votes cast for the DA, securing the appointment of the DA's candidate, Tracy Weise.

Of the 4 752 votes cast, the DA secured 4 368, or 92% of the votes, followed by 306 votes for the ANC, 39 for the ACDP, 22 for the EFF and just eight for Cope. The remaining nine votes were spoiled.

Port Elizabeth southwest constituency DA leader Bobby Stevenson said the result showed an increase in support for the DA, which won more votes than in the previous three elections, with support up from 85% to 92%.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa said in a short statement on its website that the DA won 92.09% of the votes cast compared to 85.70% in the 2016 municipal elections. It said voter turnout was 36.77%.

Despite the low voter turnout, Stevenson said: "Voters in Ward 1 used this opportunity to send a strong message that they want the DA-led coalition government to keep on making progress in Nelson Mandela Bay.

"This result is a resounding vote of confidence in our Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, and the DA-led coalition government."

Impact on vote of no confidence

The DA-led coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay has only been able to muster 58 votes out of the 120 in council since Adams' dismissal. Weise's appointment now brings them back to 59 (DA 57, ACDP 1, Cope 1).

The DA-led coalition dropped below the 61-seat majority in 2017, after a fallout between Trollip and UDM provincial leader and former deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani.

Trollip survived the motion of no confidence at the time after the EFF voted in his favour.

Every vote counts

The ANC, with 50 votes, and its opposition partners, the African Independent Congress, with one vote, and United Front, also with one vote, have indicated that they will support the EFF's motion of no confidence.

The UDM's Bobani has also welcomed the vote of no confidence, adding the party's two votes to the mix.

The EFF currently has six votes, bringing the total votes against Trollip to 60.

READ: Is Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip on his way out?

It is unclear which way the Patriotic Alliance (PA) will vote, although the party's Marlon Daniels has said the party was leaning strongly towards removing the current DA-led coalition government.

With the PA's one vote in the balance, it will be vital that the opposition ensure all councillors are present on the day.

During the previous vote of no confidence, ANC councillor Litho Suka, who was brought to council despite being ill, collapsed and had to be taken to hospital.

The ANC could also lose the vote of ward councillor Bongo Nombiba, who is currently facing charges of fraud in the Commercial Crimes Court.

Judgment in Nombiba's case is scheduled to be handed down on Friday. As a ward councillor, should he be convicted, a by-election would need to be held to find his replacement, costing the ANC his vote.

Read more on:    da  |  port elizabeth  |  politics

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