“Poor service delivery would drive voters towards the opposition, Eastern Cape DA leader Bobby Stevenson said.”

WHILE the African National Congress (ANC) is expected to retain control of the majority of the country’s municipalities in the coming local government elections, a survey released yesterday suggested the party was losing support.

The South African Institute of Race Relations said that between 2006 and last year, the ANC lost 38 wards in local government by-elections, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) gained 24.

“Between the last local government elections in 2006, and up until August (last year) , the ANC managed to hold 306 ward seats, gain 17 and lose 55, giving it an overall loss of 38 seats,” institute researcher Marius Roodt said yesterday.

The DA retained 61 seats, gained 29 and lost five, resulting in an overall gain of 24 seats.

Independents were one of the big winners. Over the period reviewed, independents held two seats, gained 18 and lost three, a net gain of 15.

A number of independents would have been members of the Congress of the People (COPE), who were running prior to the official formation of the party. COPE itself managed to win four ward seats.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) lost 10 ward seats over the period. It held 47 seats, but lost 15 and gained five, a net loss of 10.

The split of the IFP, which saw chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi launching a breakaway party, could see the IFP losing more support .

Mr Roodt said an analysis of the by-election results showed that the ANC was likely to lose support in the local government elections scheduled for next month . “Using these figures as a basis for analysis, it is likely that the DA will retain control of Cape Town,” he said.

Of the other five metropolitan municipalities, the ANC was most vulnerable in Nelson Mandela Bay . “It could also lose significant support in Johannesburg and Tshwane.”

However, the ANC would retain control of most municipalities in the country, he said.

Poor service delivery would drive voters towards the opposition, Eastern Cape DA leader Bobby Stevenson said.

The performance of the DA in the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town would be used to show the voters that “wherever the DA governs, it governs well”, he said.