A heated battle to take control of the dissolved council of the Mamusa Municipality in North West has ended with the ANC projected to still be in charge, as was widely expected.
The ANC has won all wards, bar one, which went to the Freedom Front Plus.
There were some indications of big changes in the guard, with the Freedom Front Plus performing strongly, evidently at the expense of the DA, continuing a trend first seen in the 2019 elections.
The EFF has also become the official opposition after the party went all out in its campaigning this week and appeared to gain ground at the expense of both the ANC and the Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), which took a beating.
Elections analyst Dawie Scholtz said on Twitter the conclusion was that the DA had “replicated its disastrous 2019 performance with Afrikaans voters” and “the EFF is growing big time with black voters”.
The final results in terms of seat allocation are that the ANC has ten seats, the EFF has five, the FF+ and the DA both have one.
Mamusa, which encompasses the farming and mining town of Schweizer Reneke, is one of five municipalities in North West where the ANC got more than 70% in last year’s elections and has long been considered a major stronghold for the party.
More than 20,000 residents were expected to vote on Wednesday after the dissolution of the council last year due to corruption and mismanagement. Councillors at Mamusa allegedly dictated who should get tenders and neglected their duties with regards to service delivery.
Mamusa received five consecutive disclaimer annual audit outcomes in which the Auditor-General could not assess the financial situation of the municipality, leaving it with Eskom debt exceeding R80 million and under constant threat of punitive scheduled blackouts in bulk electricity supply due to non-payment.
The municipality was also more than R230 million in debt, according to the DA.
Previously, the ANC had a majority of 11 seats, while F4SD was the official opposition with three seats. The EFF had two and the DA and FF+ one each.
The EFF deployed its leader Julius Malema to campaign, while the DA hoped its interim leader, John Steenhuisen, might prove an attraction for voters. The F4SD deployed its president, Mbahare Kekana. The ANC relied on Obed Bapela and former Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas.
The ANC said on Tuesday that the decision of the ANC-led provincial government to dissolve the dysfunctional council had met with the approval of residents and they would win by a landslide.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula was already celebrating the win on Thursday morning.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)