The ANC and the NFP are the biggest losers in the Nquthu by-elections‚ losing three seats and one seat respectively in comparison to what they attained in last year’s local government elections before the troubled council was dissolved.
This‚ as the IFP made a roaring comeback on Nquthu increasing their seats from 15 to 19 in the northern KwaZulu-Natal 33-seat municipality they lost at the hands of the ANC/NFP coalition six years ago.
The DA and the EFF each retained their seats but will no longer benefit in the coalition government as the IFP will rule the area with an outright majority electing their own preferred office bearers.
The IFP’s lion’s share of the council seats means they will no longer require a coalition to govern both Nquthu and the uMzinyathi district which has been in limbo for nearly 10 months after Nquthu failed seven times to constitute a council.
IFP provincial secretary Velenkosini Hlabisa said during a media briefing on Thursday morning that once his party gets an opportunity to govern they will do just that.
“Service delivery programmes will now get underway on the ground and we are happy for the vote of confidence and the clear mandate Nquthu people gave us. This is what we asked for and they have us‚” said Hlabisa.
The IFP already controls eNdumeni in Dundee and Msinga in Tugela Ferry sans Umvoti in Greytown under uMzinyathi district.
The ANC has conceded defeat and congratulated the IFP “on their resounding victory”.
KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli however said their acceptance of the elections results does not imply or suggest that the process was without problems and challenges.
“We noted that in some instances the supporters of the IFP were involved in threatening ANC supporters including physical assault in wards 5‚ 6‚ 12 and 14‚” he said.
Ntuli who also headed the election campaign of the ruling party said they hoped “those IFP hooligans involved will be brought before justice in order to account for their conduct”.
Nonetheless he said the cornerstone of the country’s democratic dispensation is that people must have a right to determine the government of their choice using democratic means provided for in the constitution. “Therefore‚ the ANC sincerely congratulates the IFP for their resounding success in these by-elections”.
He said as revolutionaries they are always driven by a conviction that the struggle‚ will from time to time‚ be confronted by moments of successes and setbacks.
“The people of Nquthu have spoken and indeed the will of the people shall and will be respected and accepted…our inability to win Nquthu Local Municipality will neither deter nor weaken our resolve to grow the support base of the ANC‚ particularly in the northern areas of our province.”
Bongi Sithole-Moloi‚ speaking on behalf of the absent Nomusa Dube-Ncube‚ MEC cooperative governance and traditional affairs also accepted the provisional results.
“These by-elections present Nquthu with an opportunity to do things differently to ensure faster improvements in the lives of its communities‚” she said.
IEC vice chair Terry Tselane thanked all political parties for their sterling work in ensuring incident-free polls.