Political parties gear up for Wednesday’s by-elections

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It’s all systems go for Wednesday’s by-elections, says the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) chief Glen Mashinini. 96 wards will be contested across 461 voting districts nationwide.

Eleven by-elections will be held in different municipalities in the Western Cape, three in Cape Town, four in George, two in Knysna and one ward each in the Saldanha Bay and Drakenstein municipalities.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is confident they will retain its six wards in the Southern Cape during Wednesday’s by-elections. Two wards are being contested in Knysna, and four in George after DA councillors were removed or resigned from the party.

During his campaign trail in the region, newly-elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, referred to ousted Mayors of Knysna and George, Mark Willemse and Melvin Naik, saying the party does not regret removing members who do not live up to the party’s standard of conduct.

“We don’t keep them in power like you see in parliament, in President Ramaphosa’s cabinet. It’s the same people behind State Capture, behind the Guptas. They are still sitting in the key positions. We remove the rotten apples from the DA. We don’t keep them in because we know if we keep the rotten apples in the council in a legislature or in the parliament, they end up infecting the rest of the barrel and that’s how you end up with the huge amount of billions that have been looted from the SA taxpayers and residents of this country.”

The Good Party says the by-elections will be a test of how the party’s support has grown since its launch last year. It is among a number of smaller parties contesting 11 by-elections in the Western Cape.

In wards 14 and 51 in Cape Town, Good is fielding a candidate against those from the DA, ANC, EFF,  FF Plus as well as some independent candidates.

The party’s national spokesperson, Cameron Arendse says they have done their best to drum up support.

“Having launched back in 2019 these by-elections are an opportunity to show how we have grown, to ensure service delivery back to the people, our candidates want to see quality services regardless of where one lives, our numbers are looking good and support for the party.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is among parties contesting with the ANC,  DA, Independents and other community organisations in a number in eleven wards in five municipalities in the province.

In Cape Town, ward 51 in Langa is being contested by candidates of the ANC, EFF,  AIC and Good Party as well as four 4 independent candidates.

EFF branch chairperson, Michael Bele, says they have high hopes of support from the community.

“We are hoping to bring about change in our communities, with any form delay or corrupt measure we hoping to the new energy  and new leadership coming in to bring about justice in service delivery and all other issues regarding service delivery.”

Speaking ahead of the national by-elections, independent political analyst, Keith Gottschalk, says by-elections are an important process to indicate in which direction voters’ thinking has shifted.

He says by-elections are an important process in the run-up to next year’s municipal elections. “These by-elections could be an indicator depending on exactly where they are in the municipal elections in 2021 and what we all looking for is any shift of votes between the DA, the ANC and EFF. For example, in by-elections, you also have independents standing who may split the vote of one party and that much more rare at the national level.”


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