Support for ruling party takes massive slump in Buffalo City’s Ward 3 by-election
THE ANC in the Buffalo City region is bleeding this morning after a humiliating defeat to the DA in this week’s municipal polls.
In Wednesday’s by-election in Ward 3, which covers Southernwood, Milner Estate and Braelyn, the ruling party garnered a mere 17.6%. The DA retained the ward, increasing its support from 54% to 82%, while ANC support dropped from 38% in the 2011 local government elections.
The DA’s Patricia Williams was declared the winner beating the ANC’s Tumelo Mesilane and United Democratic Movement’s Anele Skoti, who received one vote. Mesilane registered 223 against Williams, who received more than a thousand votes.
The by-election was called after the DA’s former councillor Sandla Manciya was “recalled” late last year amid allegations of poor performance.
The poll was one of 14 across the province. Others were in Mbhashe and Elundini municipalities. As expected the ANC took the lion’s share, winning 11 of the contested seats.
In Mbhashe Municipality the ANC lost two of its seats. While it retained 10 of the 12 seats it contested, close analysis shows that it also lost significant support compared to the 2011 local government elections.
The ANC blamed its poor performance on voter apathy, especially the youth whom it claimed were their main constituents.
A boisterous DA provincial leader Athol Trollip said their victory in East London was a glimpse of what is to come in upcoming general elections and next year’s municipal elections.
“I am particularly proud that residents of BCM’s Ward 3 have endorsed our standpoint of accountable governance by giving us an increased share of vote, with an unambiguous mandate to represent the ward,” said Trollip.
“This is a clear indication of growing confidence of voters in DA being a realistic alternative to ANC. The ANC has lost support because of its ongoing mismanagement of Buffalo City.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the recent R9-million taxi scandal played a role in this.
“Voters of this ward want to stop corruption and ensure that we have clean government that can create jobs, maintain infrastructure and make Buffalo City a winning city. This victory will create momentum for the DA march towards winning Buffalo City Metro,” said Trollip.
In Mbhashe the ANC lost one seat to the UDM’s Makeke Tyali and another to Luyanda Gogoba, an independent candidate.
The ruling party also retained its seat in Elundini Municipality after councillor Tabiso Tsolo died.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane yesterday said his party was not pleased about the declining support, especially in Ward 3 in East London.
“We are not happy at all. Key to this was the poor voter turnout on the day,” said Mabuyane.
Ward 3 has 7 899 registered voters, but only 1 264, or 16%, turned up. “Our people don’t seem to take by-elections seriously. They are unlike other organisations such as the DA, whose supporters do so religiously and leave nothing to chance.”
His counterpart in the ANC’s Buffalo City region, Pumlani Mkolo, attributed the poor performance to the absence of students in the area. He said student were their main constituents.
“As you know the area is mostly occupied by students, the fact that they are not yet all back from holidays killed us. That ward is a mobile ward as students come, study and leave, so our support base is mobile there.
“If these elections were held when all students were back, you could have seen a different outcome,” said Mkolo.
Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said he was not surprised by the decline. “Whatever has been alleged to be corruption or mismanagement of resources in that council has played itself out in the public for a long time and that must have had a negative impact on the reputation of the ruling party,” said Fikeni.
“The big question is ‘will the ANC be able to arrest the progressive decline of its base overtime, especially in 2015 when we host local government elections’.
“There is a degree of apathy – or even antipathy – among the youth, where out of anger on a wide range of issues, they seem to be disconnecting from the formal systems.”