The ANC won the Potchefstroom municipality in North West comfortably, in spite of the party’s failure to register candidates in seven wards.
Preliminary results at midday on Thursday showed that the ANC had secured more than 70% of the vote, winning 17 wards, two of them for the first time, from the Democratic Alliance. The ANC failed to register candidates in seven wards including one in Ikageng township, by the cut-off date, creating an opportunity for the DA to strengthen its presence in the Tlokwe municipal council.
Facing a stiff challenge from the DA in the other four wards, the ANC focused most of its North West campaign efforts on Potchefstroom. The party dispatched Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, national executive committee member Naledi Pandor and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to buttress its campaign.
North West premier Thandi Modise, also the ANC’s deputy secretary general, visited Potchefstroom three times, while provincial ANC secretary Kabelo Mataboge and chairperson Supra Mahumapelo also made several trips to the municipality.
Party leaders returned to the IEC results centre in Pretoria early on Thursday morning to some interesting developments — including that the DA retained the hotly contested Midvaal area. We spoke to ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu and DA chief strategist Ryan Coetzee.
Potchefstroom has 26 wards, six of them historically DA-controlled, 15 controlled by the ANC. The DA gained two wards and increased its percentage vote in the municipality. Voter turnout also increased from 39% in 2006 to 42% this year, helping both the ANC and the DA to increase their percentage of the vote.
Mthembu said that the ANC would not have won the seven wards that it did not contest, as they were traditionally DA-controlled.
He credited the victory in Potchefstroom and the North West in general to the party’s new provincial leadership, the deployment of Modise as premier, and the visibility of national leaders during campaigns.
DA chief executive Jonathan Moakes told the Mail & Guardian that all the DA wanted in Potchefstroom was to increase its percentage, which it had done successfully. “There is a significant foundation laid in Potchefstroom. Our goal has always been to grow significantly and use this as a platform for 2014,” Moakes said.
The ANC secured 36 seats in Potchefstroom, followed by the DA with 19, two seats for the Freedom Front Plus and one for Cope.
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