- The ANC was the biggest winner in Wednesday's by-elections, winning five wards away from the DA and other smaller parties.
- The DA, which lost two wards has, however, claimed victory.
- The EFF came out with nothing.
Independent candidates and the EFF were the biggest losers in Wednesday's by-elections, with the ANC emerging victorious and taking wards from the DA.
The ANC retained 12 wards, lost one and took away five from smaller parties and the DA. The ANC, which has struggled against the DA in the Western Cape, took two wards away from the party in the Oudtshoorn municipality.
The DA's votes were split between independent candidates and its biggest headache, the FF Plus. It lost two wards and retained six, but did not win any new wards.
Speaking to News24, election analyst Wayne Sussman said while the ballot papers were filled with independent candidates who took away votes from the DA and the ANC, all of them fared poorly.
"The biggest challenge to the ANC in 2021 [in] local or regional polls, are the independents, but for one, the independents did very poorly. A lot of independents put their names in the hat and only one of them came close to beating the ANC yesterday. The ANC and the DA did well against independents," he said.
Newcomers, the Land Party, also took away a ward from the ANC in the Overstrand municipality. The ANC went down from 89% to 36% in the ward.
"The overall trend I see is this; the FF+ continues to be a thorn in the DA's side. They did well in the two by-elections in Benoni and Ekurhuleni. That is something hovering over the DA's head. The DA continues to have challenges, but the challenges aren't as bad as they were on super Wednesday, so they had a marginally better performance," Sussman said.
He added that the EFF had a tough night. The party didn't manage to win any wards.
"There was one ward in the Northern Cape where they did well. They got over 33% of the vote which is very good performance, and one ward in Bushbuck Ridge, but they didn't come close to winning any wards and they need to start winning wards. Just like the FF+ is winning wards over the DA, you need to start seeing the EFF – for their growth momentum – winning wards over the ANC," he said.
However, in a statement, the DA claimed victory. DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the by-elections showed that the DA resonated with black voters and was making significant inroads into ANC strongholds. The DA growth in black voting districts was up 135% on 2019, she said.
"In the Western Cape, in Ward 115 in the City of Cape Town, DA support grew, showing a 12.68 percentage point increase. As predicted, smaller party Good has not managed to break the 5% ceiling. The reality is that this party cannot and will not bring real hope or real change in this local government context. The DA also retained Langeberg," she added.
She also said the DA was delighted with its results in Gauteng, in Ekurhuleni (Wards 27, 28).
"The independent candidates endorsed by Herman Mashaba's ActionSA made no impact on our electoral support."
Speaking at a virtual press briefing reviewing Parliament this past year, DA leader John Steenhuisen said he was "very pleased" with the results of Wednesday's by-elections.
He said the party achieved "massive regrowth" in Ekurhuleni and the City of Cape Town.
Steenhuisen admitted there were some "areas of concern", notably Oudtshoorn, where the party lost two seats to the ANC. He said there were some "governance concerns" that the party was dealing with.
Referring to poor voter turnout – the average turnout was 34.56%, with only 11.72% in Ward 15 in the City of Cape Town – Steenhuisen said he suspected the by-elections were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Many people were nervous to come out."
Asked about the FF Plus's growth in Ekurhuleni and The Bluff in Durban, Steenhuisen said: "My job is to focus on growing the DA's vote."
Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.