ANC misses out on Polokwane by-election

A Democratic Alliance (DA) by-election victory in Limpopo this week was a blow for the ANC but it would take decades to unseat the party in the province, an expert said on Friday.

“The win by the Democratic Alliance is a serious blow to the strategic and objectives of ANC to rule everywhere,” said political analyst Elvis Masoga.

“It simply confirms that the ANC is losing support in the metropolitan areas where there are whites and mostly black middle class.”

Masoga said the ruling party would for years continue to get votes in the rural areas where most voters felt indebted to the ANC for liberating them.

“Since [the] 1994 general election, most people who vote for [the] ANC are under developed or semi-illiterate, so it will take decades if not centuries to eat away ANC support in rural areas.”

The Independent Electoral Commission declared the DA a winner in a by-election in ward 20 of the Polokwane municipality this week.

Vacant posts
The position became vacant when an ANC councillor resigned last year.

The ward is home to ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, premier Cassel Mathale, ANC youth league provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo, and other senior ANC members.

More than 7 000 people registered to vote in the ward that was won by ANC in the 2011 local government elections.

The winning ANC candidate from 2011 left politics to pursue another career.

Masoga said the picture in the urban areas changed completely with ANC leaders finding themselves dictated to by opposition councillors.

DA provincial leader Desiree van der Walt said this week’s win was a clear indication that her party was making inroads in every ward it contested.

‘Growing as a party’
The DA had won a total of 12 wards in cosmopolitan areas in all five districts of the province since 2009.

“This shows that we are indeed growing as a party,” she said.

“We started in Phalaborwa, Tzaneen, Mokgalakwena, and Musina, and now it’s Polokwane.”

She said the party’s strategic plan was to start winning ward after ward, and then look at gaining municipalities.

The Polokwane ward contested last week is being plagued by service delivery problems.

Residents said some potholes were more than three years old.

“Here they don’t care about service delivery, they don’t want to fix the potholes, sometimes you report that the street light [is] dysfunctional, they will take weeks to repair,” said local Riekie du Plessis.—Sapa

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