Despite 'infighting', ANC retains Mamusa council

2020-01-16 17:56
(Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

(Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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Despite "infighting" among its councillors leading to the dissolution of the Mamusa Municipality in North West, the ANC retained control of the council after Wednesday's by-elections, while the EFF increased its support.

The FF Plus took a ward from the DA, but the two parties remain with one seat each in the council after the proportional votes were taken into consideration.

The ANC retained the eight wards they held before the council was dissolved and won two seats on the proportional list, compared to the three they won in the 2016 municipal elections.

This gave them a majority of 10 seats in the 18-seat council.

The EFF won five seats, three more than they had after the 2016 elections.

The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) lost the three seats they had, while the AIC also got a seat.

The DA held Ward 1 before the council's dissolution, but no proportional list seats. They lost Ward 9 to the FF Plus, but won a seat on the council (which the FF Plus failed to do). This means both parties remain with one councillor each, as they did before the council's dissolution.

The council was dissolved in October.

In a statement, ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula said: "While the ANC was the governing party in Mamusa, we took a bold and difficult decision to dissolve the council. The infighting among our own councillors effectively undermined service delivery and detracted from the municipality focusing on critical issues, such as growing the municipality revenue base and improving the lives of the people.

"These challenges and subjective weaknesses aided the emergence of right-wing opposition. This is illustrated by the displacement of the DA by the Freedom Front Plus in Ward 9."

Many commentators view the FF Plus's gains at the cost of the DA as being due to the DA's bungling of an incident of alleged racism at a Schweizer-Reneke school, where it was found a white teacher was wrongfully accused of racism.

Mbalula said the ANC had learnt "hard lessons about the vigilance needed to stop creeping lawlessness, greed and selfishness taking root".

"The decision to dissolve the Mamusa council and [to] seek a fresh mandate from the electorate, is a practical demonstration of our renewed vigilance to deal decisively with populist tendencies that undermine service delivery. We took this hard decision, prepared to risk losing power in order to serve the people better and do what is right," he said.

EFF 'is growing at supersonic speed'

He said despite the electoral victory and being returned to power, they are not in a celebratory mood.

"We understand the message of the voters [is] to place service delivery above all else. We have no doubt that the incoming council will rise to the occasion and redouble its efforts to improve the lives of our people. In keeping with the mandate we have been given by the electorate, we will govern decisively with a singular focus on service delivery."

The EFF was more bullish.

Noting that they grew from two to five seats, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement: "We note this as a significant statement of qualitative and quantitative growth. A sign that people’s confidence in the EFF, a movement that is only six years old, is growing at supersonic and alarming speed.

"We shall continue to work hard within the council for the non-negotiable improvement of the people’s living conditions in Mamusa. In addition, we shall continue to fight corruption without any fear or favour."

The DA expressed its disappointment with the election results. "We have learnt serious lessons over the past year and acknowledge that the mistakes we made in 2019 contributed to the defeat," DA North West leader Joe McGluwa said in a statement.

"The DA will be finalising its investigation into the mishandling of the Schweizer-Reneke matter and will communicate the outcome soon.

"We believe that the people of Mamusa deserve better, but we respect the voters’ choice."

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said in a statement the by-election results "serve as proof that an increasing number of voters are putting their trust in the FF Plus".

"This is the third ward in North West province that the FF Plus won from the DA in the last six months," Groenewald said.

"Since the 2016 municipal elections, the number of votes for the FF Plus increased by 87,5% while the DA lost 65% of its votes. The FF Plus also succeeded in expanding its support base in the ward since the 2019 general elections."

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  eff  |  politics
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