The African National Congress (ANC) says it is ready for the Local Government Elections. The party has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the elections will take place on 27 October.  It says that it will not support any postponement of the elections.

“Unless such as proposal is based on a recommendation by the IEC supported by the rationale that holding an election will place the lives of citizens at risk due to COVID-19 pandemic,” says the party in a statement.

The ANC has also welcomed the outcome of the municipal elections that took place yesterday. The party retained 10 of the 14 wards that were being contested, won one ward from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Knysna in the Western Cape, and another in KwaMaphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal from the Inkatha Freedom Party.

“We have again had a good showing and (we) must thank the various communities in the 14 by-elections where the ANC contested to have gone out to affirm the ANC, especially in the Western Cape where the ANC was also able to win a ward in Knysna that was previously run by the DA. So, the ANC is more than ready for these elections,” says ANC National Spokesperson, Pule Mabe.

ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula reflects on the results:

The DA has experienced some losses in the polls. It has, however, played down the results, saying they show that the party is resilient.

“We contested four particular by-elections and we were able to retain very strongly our majority in Cape Town in the Delft area. We were able to hold onto our support in the Northern Cape and we put up a good fight in the Beaufort West area. However, we did lose the Knysna by-election which was due to the fact that we had dismissed a councillor who had demonstrated that they no longer shared the values of the DA of ensuring good governance for the people of Knynsa. And while that has been a setback in our electioneering, we know, in fact that, that is the right thing to do,” says DA National Spokesperson, Siviwe Gwarube.

The IFP, which retained its ward in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal, has welcomed the date for the Local Government Elections. It says it is raring to go with its campaign.

Meanwhile, political analyst Ivor Sarakinsky says given the average voter turnout of just over 40.6%, the results may not be a proper reflection of the reality on the ground. Additionally, attempting to project the outcome of the October poll, which combines ward and proportional representation votes, would be misleading.

However, he says there is a trend emerging.

“There are signs that the EFF has improved its performance. They are picking up in various parts of the country, especially in KZN in absolute numbers. Their numbers are going up. The DA’s numbers are static and going down and they have lost that ward and they would be concerned about that and the ANC probably would want to consolidate and hold the same performance as the by-elections are indicating but get greater turnouts in terms of the PR allocation of seats in the metro areas in particular,” he says.

The IEC now has the task of organising one more round of by-elections in May and then it will be all hands on deck to prepare for the local government elections.

Deputy CEO of the IEC Masego Sheburi says yesterday’s voter turnout is slightly higher than the average turnout for by-elections:

The commission says the president’s announcement allows it and all other stakeholders to begin their preparations to ensure South Africa’s sixth municipal council elections are free, fair, and safe.