By STEVEN LANG and SUE MACLENNAN
The ANC’s Vuyani Nesi has won the by-election in Ward 14 of Makana Local Municipality. The by-election was one of 19 held in the Eastern Cape yesterday. Nesi received 79.15% of the largely rural ward.
Ward 14 includes the rural areas of Alicedale, Highlands and Seven Fountains. Vuyani Nesi of the ANC and the EFF’s Busisiwe Wendy Nyamakazi were the two candidates. There was no DA candidate for Makana’s Ward 14 in Wednesday’s by-election.
Around midday on voting day, Wednesday, Makana councillor Phumla Matyumza, outside the Alicedale Town Hall voting station, said around 200 people had visited the station so far. There were 2854 registered voters in Ward 14 for this by-election.
In a statement today, the Electoral Commission said the by-elections across 55 municipalities in all nine provinces yesterday had proceeded peacefully and smoothly, boding well for the upcoming Municipal Elections scheduled for 2021.
“These elections were extraordinary in that they were the first to be held in South Africa under COVID-19 conditions and were the largest number of by-elections held on a single day in our history,” the IEC said.
The Commission said it was also encouraged by the voter turnout which was within the range for by-elections held since the 2016 Municipal Elections. The average turnout yesterday had been 37.83 percent compared to an average of 38.73 percent over the past four years. The highest turnout recorded yesterday was 75.29 percent which was recorded in ward 4 of the Port St Johns municipality in the Eastern Cape.
In the 2019 national elections, with a 61% voter turnout, Makana’s results saw the EFF gain around five percent and the ANC lose almost the same percentage. The second-largest party, the DA, marginally increased its share between the two elections. No DA candidate was fielded in yesterday’s by-election.
The by-elections were the first to be held since election activities were suspended in March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are a “catch-up” of all by-elections postponed between March and September. The by-elections took place in 95 wards across 55 municipalities in all nine provinces.
In ward 130 (Naledi, Soweto) in the City of Johannesburg and at one voting station in ward 13 in Amahlathi Municipality in the Eastern Cape, voting only got under way around midday after protests over service delivery targeted voting stations in these areas. Protesters blocked access to voting stations of both election officials and voters. The police and provincial and municipal leaders intervened.
The Electoral Commission thanked voters who came out to vote and for following the Covid-19 protocols strictly and without complaint.
“We also express our thanks to the political parties, their candidates and agents for their support, cooperation and contribution to the success of these by-elections. Thanks must also be extended to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for being a constantly dependable partner in the delivery of safe and peaceful elections. The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to the Electoral Court for providing judicial clarity and condonation to conduct these elections outside of the 90-day period,” the Commission said.
Of the 95 by-elections, there were:
- 20 in the Northern Cape across 8 municipalities
- 19 in the Eastern Cape across 13 municipalities
- 14 in Gauteng across 6 municipalities
- 12 in KwaZulu-Natal across 9 municipalities
- 11 in the Western Cape across 5 municipalities
- 6 in the North West across 4 municipalities
- 5 in Mpumalanga across 3 municipalities
- 4 in Limpopo across 4 municipalities and
- 4 in the Free State across 3 municipalities
The by-elections included two dissolved councils in the Northern Cape where PR candidates must also be elected (9 PR seats in Phokwane and 3 PR seats in Renosterberg).
A total of 609 133 voters were on the certified voters’ rolls for the various by-elections. A total of 23 008 (3.7 percent) applied and were approved to cast a special vote – 12 218 via home visits and 10 790 at their voting station. Special votes were cast on Tuesday.
The by-elections were contested by 40 political parties with a total of 444 candidates certified as contestants. This included 19 independent candidates. Of the candidates, 305 (69%) were male and 139 (31%) female.
Election equipment transported to voting stations ahead of Wednesday’s ballot included:
- 28,000 face masks
- 3,600 face shields
- 65,000 rubber gloves
- 1,500 biohazard bins and bags
- 1,150 packs of sanitizer wipes
- 1,300 litres of sanitiser
- 10,000 social distancing markers
“Wednesday’s by-elections are our first under Covid conditions,” The Electoral Commission’s Sy Mamabolo said. “Unfortunately, they will not be the last. These by-elections are a test for all stakeholders ahead of future by-elections and for next year’s Local Government Elections.