By Tessa Trafford
The Eastern Cape held its by-elections earlier this month, with the African National Congress (ANC) winning a majority vote once again. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), they won in nine wards throughout the province. Another victory for the ruling party was when they won all the contested wards in Port Elizabeth. These wards were contested because many of the ward councillors had left the ANC to join the newly formed Congress of the People (Cope).
ANC spokesperson, Jessie Duarte, said that winning all the contested wards would “put to rest” all whisperings that the Eastern Cape had become predominantly Cope supporters. “It looks to us like the ANC has maintained an average of 66 percent throughout this particular by-election,” added Duarte.
The ANC has fared much better in these by-elections than in the ones that took place in January.
Fikile Mbalula, Head of elections and campaigns for the ANC, told reporters at a press conference in Johannesburg, “The myth that the Eastern Cape is Cope was debunked by the overwhelming turnout at the launch of the manifesto.” The ANC manifesto launch in East London in January saw a turnout of around 60 000 people, a large percentage of them being first time voters. Two weeks later, Cope launched their manifesto in Port Elizabeth, with Cope supporters wearing shirts proclaiming “Cope, Ready to govern the Eastern Cape.” For these two parties, the Eastern Cape appears to be the province to win.
Shortly after these by-elections, the IEC announced the parties running in these elections. The IEC also made available a list of candidates running for provincial premierships:
ANC: Still to be announced. DA: Athol Trollip Cope: Wiseman Nkuhlu