The North West city is currently being run by a Democratic Alliance mayor after councillors voted to unseat the African National Congress mayor. This follows a lengthy saga that took a turn in the High Court in Johannesburg.
“You can’t do work on the voting day. We have done our work actually since 1912,” ANC North West chairman Supra Mahumapelo said outside the polling station at the Boikhotso Secondary School in Ikageng, Potchefstroom.
“The Tlokwe municipality is the best-run municipality… financially. The Tlokwe municipality has blue drop and green drop status, the roads are tarred, the walk paths are paved… the houses are being built, and the Auditor General has given us a clean audit. In general things are working well.”
Mahumapelo said that during door-to-door campaigns people told the ANC they were happy with the party, but that it did need to improve on some things. People complained the ANC took too long to discipline its members. Although they could see the party was building houses they needed to accelerate the process.
“In general they are happy. They say they going to vote for the ANC. They are unhappy about those who are not disciplined in the ANC, but they say… they will still support the ANC.”
The ANC lost control of the Tlokwe municipality to the DA last month after councillors voted to unseat mayor Maphetle Maphetle. DA councillor Annette Combrink was voted in as a mayor.
Ward nine was previously held by the ANC but become vacant when the councillor resigned. Mary Segogonyane Mosieleng was contesting the ward for the party. Mahumapelo said the previous councillor was a teacher and had decided to step down to focus on his job.
“We took a decision, as the ANC, that councillors of the ANC must focus on their work as councillors. You can’t be a teacher, a policeman, and at the same time a councillor,” he said.
The DA candidate for the ward, Jacky Tobolo, said he was confident he would win because people were ready for change. “People in Tlokwe are behind the DA,” he said outside the voting station. “People just want quality service delivery, pure governance, and basic services.” Tobolo said there had always been problems in Ward Nine because the previous ANC councillor was not able to identify people’s needs.
A steady stream of people arrived at the school to vote for the new ward councillor. The ANC, the DA, the Congress of the People, and an independent candidate were contesting the ward.
Groups of people in ANC and DA shirts stood outside the gates to the voting station. Each party had a table where people could see if they were registered to vote. Independent Electoral Commission officials said over 200 people had voted by 10.30am. Eight other by-elections were taking place in the province on Wednesday.