The ANC in the North West took back control of Tlokwe local municipality from the Democratic Alliance by winning all the six wards contested in Wednesday’s by-elections, according to Independent Electoral Commission results.
The ANC will now have 29 councillors, with the DA-led coalition retaining 23, giving the ruling party an absolute majority to appoint a mayor.
The ANC’s victory brings to an end a bitter battle between the two parties for control of the Potchefstroom-based municipality.
The ANC had won Tlokwe through local government elections in 2011, but the DA-led coalition of opposition parties took charge in June after some ANC councillors participated in voting former mayor Maphetle Maphetle out by a motion of no confidence.
ANC provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said the party is "elated by the overwhelming victory".
The DA, however, has accused the ANC of "unashamedly" using Nelson Mandela's name and legacy to secure the Tlokwe win.
"The communities endorsed all ANC candidates as their preferred councillors. Our victory is a demonstration that the ANC remains rooted in its constituencies and it continues to sustain its base," Legoete said in a statement.
The first set of by-elections were held in September, but six were postponed after independent candidates, all of them former ANC councillors, requested more time for campaigning.
"The people of Tlokwe have spoken through their ballot and illustrated their confidence in the ANC and its leadership that the ANC is a revolutionary organisation that represented their aspiration in the past; it represents their aspiration currently and in the future. Indeed, the ANC is vindicated through this excellent result that we obtained."
But some wards were not an easy victory for the ANC. The party had to embark on a last-minute door-to-door campaign after 6pm when polling figures showed a real threat by the DA to win ward four. The ward is made up of a town and township areas, on an almost 50/50 share.
The new councillors are expected to be inaugurated on Friday.