A total of 14 by-elections were held across South Africa on Wednesday 21 April, five months after the last round of local votes were tallied. Some parties have enjoyed more success than others, and fascinating trends are emerging ahead of our Local Government Elections in six months’ time. Here’s how the ANC, the DA, and the EFF fared this time.

By-election results for South Africa, April 2021:

ANC

It was a fairly decent night for the ruling party, truth be told: They held 10 wards, and GAINED a ward off both the IFP and the DA. The ANC went from 29% to 49% in Knysna Ward 11, beating their Blue rivals in an opposition stronghold. Although supporter numbers dwindled in some regions, the 109-year-old organisation got the job done on Wednesday.

DA

Dawie Scholtz, a by-election specialist, described their performance as ‘bad, but slightly better than November 2020’. Nonetheless, after losing several key wards before Christmas, the bar for improvement was incredibly low – and the DA barely cleared it. On top of a lost ward, there have been some other damaging results for Steenhuisen’s party overnight:

  • – DA support has dipped from 51% to 34% in Knysna Ward 11 – particularly galling, after one of their councillors defected to the ANC.
  • – In at least three wards, support for the party is down by more than 10%.
  • – In almost every by-election contested, the voter share for the Blues has gone down.
  • – One of their better performances came in an ANC hold: Nama Khoi Ward 2 in Springbok gave them 41% of the vote – the same as they received in 2016.
  • – There was one, outright silver lining for the DA: They held onto Delft with over 51% of the vote.

EFF

Get a load of this: KwaZulu-Natal, long dominated by the ANC and IFP, may soon have another serious competitor when local elections get underway in October. The EFF has made substantial inroads across the province, with some regional wards seeing a 24% swing towards the Red Berets: Parts of eThekwini are also courting Julius Malema et al…

Other noteworthy performances from the by-elections

The IFP was the other party that retained a ward on Wednesday, in Ward 5 of KwaDukuza – but they’ve also lost one to the ANC. Meanwhile, the Patriotic Alliance made some major inroads in Beaufort West Ward 4, claiming 24% of the vote to slash the previous duopoly of the vote here.

The Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) debuted with 19% in Delft, outperforming the ANC (16%) to finish second. Meanwhile, one by-election in Buffalo City was cancelled due to a court order.

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Presh JM Reporter

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