ANC retains ward in Makana Municipality by-election
The African National Congress (ANC) got a morale boost going into the 2016 Local Government Elections when it retained Ward 1 of the struggling Makana Local Municipality in municipal by-elections that were held on Wednesday.
Only the ANC's, Melikaya Phongolo, and the Democratic Alliance's (DA) Carolynn Clark contested in the by-election.
The ANC won with 77.84% of the total votes cast despite a huge campaign by the DA to win voters before the by-election.
The Ward became vacant as a result of the death of an ANC councillor.
'ANC is the only option'
"We applaud the hard work done by the Sarha Baartman ANC Region, the sub-region of Makana and everyone who contributed. This is not just an indication that the ANC is taking serious the needs of our people in communities but also an indication that the majority of our people still have confidence in the ANC. ANC is their only option," said ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson, Mlibo Qhoboshiyane.
"It is not by luck that we win these by-elections. This victory signaled the next coming local government outcomes next year. This victory is a vote of confidence, a serious statement directed to all those who doubt the intelligence of the masses especially in farming areas."
He said that the victory was a testament that communities appreciate the successes and challenges faced by the current government "but through their power to decide government, they always choose the best organization that has delivered housing, social improvement and better life".
"The ANC and people of Makana are well aware of the service delivery challenges facing the Makana Municipality but that does not change focus on who must lead in governance but rather retain the experienced organisation and work together to address these challenges.
"We salute the voters who went all out to vote despite the weather but remain committed to their struggles and dispel the nonsense and the rhetoric by the opposition. The ANC is always committed and working hard to address the service delivery problems in that municipality," Qoboshiyane said.
Voter turnout was however below average at 44.86% of the 1 625 registered voters in the Ward.
DA support grows
"The Democratic Alliance is happy with our growth in the rural ward 1 by-election in Makana Municipality," said Andrew Whitfield, DA MP for the Frontier constituency, in a statement on Thursday.
"The DA's growth in this by election is a sign that change is possible when more and more people vote for the DA.
"In this by election the DA grew from 14% of the vote in the 2011 local government elections to 22% of the vote in this 2015 by-election. This is almost 60% growth in four years."
He said that if the party grows at this rate into 2016, it can win as much as 50% of the seats on the council.
"This will position us for government in Makana by 2021."
Of the 10 by-elections held across the country on Wednesday, the ANC won in seven, the DA in two and one went to the Inkatha Freedom Party.
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