The African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State says it welcomes the results of the by-elections held in Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality in QwaQwa in the Free State.

The ANC provincial secretary, Paseka Nompondo, attributes the loss of electoral support to the divisions in the party.

By-elections were held in 15 wards following the party’s decision to expel 16 of its councillors after they defied the organisation’s directive by voting with opposition parties to remove the then Executive Mayor Vusi Tshabalala.

The ANC retained five wards while the independents won 10. Nompondo says the party will assess its performance.

“We commit ourselves as the ANC Free State to do a serious introspection in relation to all these issues that were raised so that we chart a way forward. The ANC is still in control of this municipality because the ANC is able on its own to constitute government. We have about 37 seats and the opposition combined have 32 seats. But the fact that we lost so many seats, so many wards, it’s a greatest concern to us. We will make a serious introspection.”