DA bags 2 wards in Cape by-elections, but support drops in Bonteheuwel

 (File, Supplied)
(File, Supplied)

The results of Wednesday's by-elections in the Western Cape were a mixed bag for both the ANC and DA.

While the DA won a ward off the ANC in the Bergrivier municipality, its support in Cape Town's Ward 31 – Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park – dropped by a considerable 20%.

The ANC retained its Ward 101 stronghold, which is in Bloekombos in Kraaifontein.

In Bergrivier's Ward 5, the DA got 44.71% of the vote - enough to win the seat from the ANC. 

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. In 2016, the DA won the ward with 50.87%.

Adam van Wyk will be the DA's councillor for the ward.

DA drops, ACDP soars in Bonteheuwel

In Cape Town's Ward 31, the DA saw a drop of nearly 20% compared to the 2016 elections. They received 61.82% of the votes cast, compared to the 81.17% received three years ago.

The ACDP on the other hand, which got about 1% in 2016, soared to a relatively impressive 20.56% of the vote.

The ANC rose from 10% to 14%, while the EFF maintained its 3%.

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

Theresa Thompson will be the new councillor.

In Ward 101 the ANC had another strong showing. The party retained its seat with 86.47% of the votes, compared to 85.58% in the 2016 municipal elections.

Siyabonga Duka will represent the ANC as ward councillor.

Voter turnout low

In Cape Town, the voter turnout was low, with 26.75% in Ward 31 and 19.02% in Ward 101. The by-election in the Bergrivier municipality was more hotly contested, with a voter turnout of 55.34%.

DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said the party was "delighted" by the results in Ward 31 and Bergrivier.

"We also thank the residents of Ward 101 who helped us retain our voting percentage in that ward," he said in his statement.

"I am confident that Theresa Thompson from the City of Cape Town and Adam van Wyk from Bergrivier will represent their communities with pride and fight for better services for the people. Thompson and Van Wyk understand the struggles of the people and will ensure that the people always come first," he said.

"Yesterday, in the City of Cape Town and in Bergrivier, the people, through their vote, showed us that they still believe in our cause and support our efforts. Now, more than ever, we need change that will build our nation."

ANC has 'mixed feelings'

The ANC said it had "mixed feelings" about the by-elections.

"We are ecstatic that we crushed any opposition in Bloekombos, optimistic after increasing our numbers in Ward 31 and chipping away at the DA's majority, but disappointed in narrowly losing in Bergriver," the party said in a statement.

"We want to thank our loyal supporters and volunteers for continuing to stand by us and for endorsing President [Cyril] Ramaphosa's new dawn. Your support bodes well for the general election. It also reassures us the ANC is on the right road and that we have the people behind us. We want to represent all our different communities and do them proud," said ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs.

He said they contested Ward 31 "on principle", knowing it was a strong DA ward, bringing a message of the renewal of a new dawn, non-racialism, non-sexism, unity and an end to gangsterism and gang violence in the area.

"We wanted to see if this message resonated with voters: enough for us to increase our percentage of the ballot. It did bring our total percentage to 14%," said Jacobs.

'Disappointed'

He added that the 20% drop in the DA's majority was a signal that people wanted change.

Jacobs said there would not have been a by-election in Bergrivier if Western Cape MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell did not remove sitting councillor Billy Claassen for misconduct.

"We are disappointed in not retaining this ward," Jacobs said.

ANC provincial elections head Ebrahim Rasool said: "Bloekombos is showing that the DA dream of massive African support is evaporating. It's clear that the DA honeymoon with Africans is over. They should also be worried about their declining coloured support.

"We are clearly on an upward trajectory. It's humble beginnings, but we're getting there," he claimed.

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