Voting is under way in the by-elections in three wards in the City of Cape Town. Almost 14 000 voters have registered to cast their ballot in ward 51 in Langa. Ward 14, which includes residential areas such as Blackheath and Happy Valley, has 17 000 registered voters.

In Ward 88 in Phillippi East, voters say they want to see an improvement in their living conditions.

“It’s been 25 years, but there are still basic challenges facing the people, most of which is education. Some of us went to school to try to change the situation at home but to find you can’t get employed. We want everything in Bulawayo to be done properly. Job creation … the youth are not working. They are sitting on the corners [of streets]. We have to gather them and fight for jobs.”

Some residents of Knysna in the Garden Route are skeptical that the two by-elections under way in their town, can bring about any change. The former Democratic Alliance (DA) stronghold is facing a backlash after getting rid of its former Mayor, Mark Willemse, and also for recently writing off R93 million debt.

Willemse is trying to get back into the council by contesting the election as an independent candidate.

Voters were out in their numbers in Ward 9 and 10.

“I feel like they are not going to help at all because there are still problems in this country and changing the municipality does not change the problems. Knysna has been in a bit of a mess for the last couple of years and things haven’t been working at all. So, I think that it’s very important that we can get the right people on the council.”

Some of the voters in Mmakaunyane village in the Moretele Local Municipality in the North West are not optimistic about improvements in service delivery, such as internal roads, high mast lights and adequate water.

Political parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the ACG (Agenda To Citizenry Governors) and the ANC are out in their numbers lobbying votes in the by-election in ward 8 that was triggered by the death of the local councillor.

One resident says, “I decided to vote because we don’t have electricity, roads, entertainment, sports recreation. The current government doesn’t give us what we need.”

Voting under way in various provinces:

Voting continued in earnest at all the five voting stations at the JB Marks Local Municipality, in Potchefstroom, in the North West. The municipal by-elections are being held in three wards following the deaths of some councillors. They had to be postponed earlier this year due to the national lockdown imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the municipality, three wards are being contested by the ANC, DA, EFF, VF Plus and an independent candidate. However, Ward 5, which is in Potchefstroom town, is regarded as the most hotly contested. This as all the four main parties are gunning for it.

The ward previously belonged to the DA.

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

IEC Provincial Electoral Officer, Dr Tumelontle Thiba, “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 interests 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.