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By Marizka Coetzer


By-elections results will bring in ‘some breathing space’ for DA in Tshwane

DA’s Andrew Lesch won the votes in ward 83 in Cape Town, with a turnout of only 22.79%.

The low turnout rate of by-elections on Wednesday was concerning with the national elections coming up next year.

Yesterday, the results of who was voted into the empty seats in four metros across the country, including Gauteng, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal, were announced, with opposition party claiming the most seats.

Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) spokesperson Kate Bapela said during the by-elections contested in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape, the Democratic Alliance (DA) retained four seats, while the Inkatha Freedom Party retained three seats and lost one seat to the ANC.

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The ANC retained one seat and won a new seat and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) also won a seat. DA’s Andrew Lesch won the votes in ward 83 in Cape Town, with a turnout of only 22.79%, while the new PA councillor, Lois Simonse, won ward 7 in Joburg, where voter turnout was 33.86%.

DA ‘should be pleased’

Political analyst Piet Croucamp said the DA should be pleased with the outcome, especially in Tshwane where they now have an equal number of seats to the opposition coalition.

“That will bring in some breathing space for the DA in Tshwane,” he said.

Croucamp said the turnout was incredibly low.

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“It might be a sign that there is still a degree of voter apathy,” he said.

Croucamp said in the past, the DA had the ability to get those people they have registered out to vote.

“The ANC seems to be on a slow spiral to nowhere. If you look at the by-elections over the past year, they have won this one particular ward. It has always been a close contest for that particular ward,” he said.

‘My vote counts’

Tshwane resident Alec Hamilton said he made an effort to go out in the cold to vote because he knows his vote counts.

“And if we don’t vote, we can’t expect change,” he said.

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Hamilton said he was generally pleased with the state of his neighbourhood.

“They should look at upgrading our infrastructure, such as the sewage lines and the power connections,” he said.

Hamilton said infrastructure has been neglected for a very long and was concerned about it.

Another resident, Angie Tshabalala, was pleasantly surprised when she arrived to vote and found an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stand at the voting station in Moreleta Park, east of Pretoria.

Tshabalala said it was good seeing the EFF at the voting station because she only saw the DA and Freedom Front Plus campaigning in the area for two weeks.

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Another resident, Mary Heck, said she was confident her party would win the area so that it could be maintained and upgraded. She said the cold nearly kept her away but she didn’t want to risk not voting.