Indicative by-election in Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park a slow burner

2019-01-16 21:35
(Gallo Images)

(Gallo Images)

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Voters were initially slow to turn up for what was expected to be a hotly-contested by-election and a barometer for DA support in the City of Cape Town.

News24 visited several voting stations in Cape Town's Ward 31 – which includes parts of Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park – on Wednesday morning and afternoon.

At every station, voter turnout was slow and as the general consensus of officials from all the parties was that more people would cast their votes when people get home from work after 17:00. News24 understands that this is indeed the case.

During the 2016 municipal elections, the ward only mustered a voter turnout of 61.2%.

For the most part, there wasn't much conflict between the parties and their supporters, apart from the DA, which lodged a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission, claiming the ACDP provided people with vouchers for food that they would receive on Saturday in exchange for their votes. 

The ACDP said on its official Twitter account: "Actually we have always distributed food. I don't see anything said about only if we win. We will certainly investigate. We don't buy votes ever."

The candidates contesting the by-election are the ACDP's Charmaine Malgas, ANC's Bazoya Mtini, DA's Theresa Thompson, the Democratic Independent Party's Kenneth Brookes and the EFF's Theresa Jafta. 

In 2016, the DA won the ward with 81% of the vote, while the ANC got 10%, the EFF 3% and the ACDP was one of the parties which got about 1% of the vote. 

DA officials were confident that they would retain the ward while ANC officials admitted that it would be difficult for them to win the ward. The ANC was, however, very confident that it would retain Ward 5 in the Bergrivier Municipality and Ward 101 in Cape Town, in Bloekombos in the Kraaifontein area – the two other by-elections in the province on Wednesday.

Judging by their presence on the ground, it seems that the ACDP expects to improve in Ward 31.

In by-elections in the rural Western Cape last year, the DA saw a decrease in their support of around 9%. Therefore, the by-election was viewed as a barometer to show whether the party's support in Cape Town was also on the decline ahead of the national and general elections.

It seemed on Wednesday as if the ANC's mobilisation on the ground wasn't what it would be for the national and provincial elections.

The vacancy came about after Jonathan Cupido resigned as councillor and DA member in solidarity with former Cape town mayor Patricia de Lille.

De Lille has formed a new party, called GOOD. The party, still in its infancy, did not put up a candidate.

The EFF had a van draped in its flag and had speakers while patrolling the neighbourhood. Outside the Nooitgedacht voting station, it played the song Koekie Loekie, a favourite of former DA leader Helen Zille on the 2009 campaign trail.

Shortly after, the three EFF members manning their table outside the voting station temporarily left, asking the adjacent ACDP members to keep an eye on the table because they were "church people".

In the Bergrivier Municipality's Ward 5, independent Andries Jaars, the ACDP's Jan Maarman, the ANC's Immanuel Adams, the DA's Adam van Wyk and the EFF's Dirk Jakobus Adam are the candidates.

The vacancy came about when the ANC's Billy Claassen was expelled. In the municipal elections of 2011 and in 2016, the DA won the ward but in a by-election in August 2017, the ANC turned the table and Claassen won with 54% of the vote.

Ward 101 in Cape Town is an ANC stronghold. The party obtained 84% of the vote in the 2016 municipal elections to the DA's 9%.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cape town  |  politics  |  elections
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