DA machine takes on Rajbansi in Chatsworth

A tough municipal by-election in a Chatsworth, Durban, ward will see the African National Congress-aligned Minority Front — led by new KwaZulu-Natal sports MEC Amichand Rajbansi — fight it out to retain a marginal seat from a determined challenge from the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

The by-election — which was caused by the defection of Visvin Reddy, the councillor who won the seat by a whisker over the DA in 2000 — is one of nine by-elections being fought on Thursday, with the ruling ANC having won a further three by-elections unopposed.

The Durban by-election is being held in veteran politician Rajbansi’s Arena Park base — where the former Indian House of Delegates chairperson lives — and the ward also includes the working class Indian area of Croftdene and the CBD area of Chatsworth.

Reddy defected to the DA and gained an electable slot on the KwaZulu-Natal list for the National Assembly in the recent April election — but he suddenly joined the ANC, forfeiting his position.

The seat is now also being fought by the Independent Democrats — and will be leader Patricia de Lille’s first municipal test after winning nearly 2% of the national vote in the April 14 national election. An Independent, the New National Party (NNP), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) are all standing. They are, however, deemed to be minor players in this contest.

Reddy only just won the seat in the municipal election of 2000 with 35,2% or 1 552 votes in a 37,4% poll — just ahead of the DA’s 33,68% or 1 483.

The Chatsworth seat is seen as a potential prize for the DA, which has put up Logasundari Sanasy, while the Minority Front (MF) — which has backed an ANC-led provincial government in the province — has put up Minesh Maistry. In 2000 the ANC received only 334 votes or 7,59% and is not standing this time but its support may be pivotal in fostering an MF win.

Meanwhile a by-election in the Eastern Cape in Humansdorp (Kouga municipality) ward five sees the DA — which held the seat comfortably with 51,7% of the vote in the 2000 municipal election — being challenged by the ANC, the ACDP, the NNP and the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

The ANC got 36,2% of the vote last time, or 719 votes, to the DA’s 1 027. Last time the ACDP gained just 4,2%, or 84 votes, while an independent got 156 votes or 7,8%.

The seat looks likely to remain in the hands of the DA.

Also in the Eastern Cape, the ANC has won ward two in Ntabankulu unopposed.

In 2000 the ANC won the seat against the UDM of General Bantu Holomisa with 86% of the vote or 1 804 votes. The UDM then got 13,9% or 292 votes.

In the Free State municipality of Masilonyana (Theunissen) the ANC faces both the DA and the Freedom Front Plus in ward two. In the 2000 municipal election the DA received 40,67% of the vote or 819 votes — about seven percentage points behind the ANC’s 47,96% or 966 votes. A Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) candidate received just 22 votes or 1,09% while an Alliance 2000+ candidate received 207 votes or 10,28%.

It could be a close run by-election if the DA can stop bleeding to the Freedom Front Plus, although the ANC is likely to retain its seat if it can hold on to high support levels achieved in the area in the April national and provincial election.

Also in the Free State, the ANC faces a challenge from the Azanian People’s Organisation and the PAC in Ward nine in Moqhaka (Kroonstad). This should be a safe ANC seat as it achieved 74,3% or 1 248 votes in 2000 with its nearest rival being an Independent with 307 votes or 18,3%. The PAC last time got just 15 votes or 0,89% and Azapo got 65 votes or 3,87%. Other parties got the remainder.

Also in Durban, the ANC faces a fight against the IFP in ward 76. The ANC won this area with 75,1% or 2 949 votes in 2000 against the IFP’s 17,58% or 690 votes. The ANC looks certain to retain this ward.

Meanwhile in the KwaZulu municipality of Abaqulusi (Vryheid), the IFP, the DA and the ANC are in the field. In 2000 the area was won easily by the IFP with 78,8% of the vote, or 1 195, with the DA coming in second with 205, or 13,52%, and the ANC with just 116, or 7,6%. The seat looks likely to be retained by the IFP.

In the Kokstad ward five, also in KwaZulu Natal, the ANC faces the IFP. Last time the ANC got 95,3% of the vote, or 1 060 votes, while the DA — which is not standing this time got just 52 votes, or 4,68%. The seat looks certain to stay in ANC hands.

Meanwhile in Delmas, Mpumalanga, the ANC is being challenged by the UDM in ward five. In 2000 this ward was won easily by the ANC with 72,8%, or 864 votes, with the nearest rival being an Independent with 139 votes, or 11,7%.

The UDM did not stand there in 2000.

Meanwhile in Ward six in Highlands municipality (Belfast) in Mpumalanga, the ANC has won unopposed. In 2000 the ANC won 72,1% of the vote, or 874 votes, to the DA’s 12,7%, or 154 votes. Other parties got the remainder.

In ward nine in Mbombela, also in Mpumalanga, the ANC also has won the seat unopposed. In 2000 it achieved 94,5% of the vote to the DA’s 3,6%.

In ward 11 in the Western Cape municipality of Stellenbosch the NNP takes on the ANC. In 2000 the DA won 36,9% to the ANC’s 48,5% but the DA is not standing this time. The NNP was then part of the DA but it now has a working agreement with the ANC. A walkover ANC victory can be predicted. – I-Net Bridge

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday