The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape lost a ward to the African National Congress in by-elections on Wednesday, but says they are otherwise pleased with the results. While the loss of a ward may seem significant to many – particularly because it came in a province dominated by DA support – a political analyst from Stellenbosch University highlighted that although the DA lost a ward, “it didn’t lose any wards in the Cape Town metropolitan area.”
“The Western Cape is a big province and there’s a variety of districts and areas…the DA did lose support in the Cape Town metropolitan area, but it didn’t lose any wards in the Cape Town metropolitan area. There’s a drop in support, but interestingly not just in the DA but also at least in one of the wards in support of the ANC.”
“I think this says the DA is consolidating…it’s losing support but it’s not losing wards necessarily,” said Professor Erwin Schwella, a specialist in governance and leadership.
“The winners, in terms of support, would be the GOOD party, but they didn’t win a ward.”
In Tafelsig and Wesbank, the DA saw a significant drop in support from their 2016 municipal election results – a drop which in many ways could be argued as caused by the recent drama that unfolded within the party’s top leadership positions.
Although the ANC won the Matzikama Municipality ward with 51.30% of the vote, Schwella says it’s risky to try to reach to a conclusion on each party’s political trajectory just yet.
“It’s not easy to come to a solid conclusion here yet – we need more data and elections to see how this plays out,” he said.
“I think the DA will be pleased with their consolidation…there’s no indication that they will lose the City of Cape Town in the next municipal elections from these results…
The DA has obviously been through a very difficult time.”
While the results of the by-elections were obviously not what the DA – or any governing party – would ideally have wanted, Schwella explained that if the DA considers what it could have expected, the party will probably be pleased with the results.
Following reports from News24, the ANC’S interim provincial committee coordinator, Ronalda Nalumango was overjoyed by the ANC’s victory.
“We are exhilarated to take a ward from the DA. This victory, and also our strong performance in two other by-elections in the Western Cape, show we are recovering from our setbacks in the 2016 local government election. We want to thank all those who made this victory possible.”