By-elections in the Northern Cape’s Phokwane and Renosterberg municipalities proceeded smoothly. Only one voting station in the province had a delayed start after dissatisfaction was raised by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) over alleged irregularities with ballot boxes.

No other voting stations reported incidents.

In the towns of Pampierstad, Hartswater and Jan Kempdorp, which make up the Phokwane area, more than 32 000 have been registered to take part in the by-elections. This after the municipal council was dissolved earlier this year by the provincial government after it faced serious administrative and political challenges.

Voters in the area say they are hoping the by-elections will yield improvements in the municipality.

“I would like us to give a party like the EFF a chance. Maybe we will see changes because all the ANC know is corruption,” says one voter.

“As residents of Phokwane, we have had enough. Our municipality does not have leadership. that’s why we say we want a change,” says another voter.

At Renosterberg municipal area, voters were already queuing before 7 o’clock. First-time voters and others expressed their hopes that newly-elected councillors will work hard for the community.

“It is very important for me to come and vote because people don’t have work. They need water and they need toilets.”

Another resident says, “The water problem is a big issue for us as a community because without water we can’t do anything. You know, now with this pandemic, you need to wash hands carefully before you do anything.”

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says voting progressed slowly but smoothly in all voting stations.

Voting under way in Pampierstad and Phillipstown:

The Electoral Commission says so far it is satisfied with all the proceedings of the by-elections.

IEC Provincial Electoral Officer Dr Tumelontle Thiba says, “As some people have said, this is a dry run for 2012 and all our 15 voting stations opened on time without any hiccups. We had access to venues without any incidents. So far, we are happy and there is a lot of interest shown. I am hoping for a decent 25% to 30% voter turnout today.”

Dry run for 2021 LGE:

Meanwhile, political analyst Professor Andre Duvenhage believes the results for these hotly-contested by-elections might change the political face of the council

“We may see some changes. We know this is far-reaching. We are working with a 34/33 scenario. If those two wards are going to opposition parties, the opposition parties will have a majority and most probably we will see a new government in place for Potchefstroom, Tlokwe/JB Marks. If it goes 50/50 then we have the concept of a hung council.”

The fate of the contested wards now rests in the hands of the voters.