ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS
ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS

The ANC has strengthened its position in Ekurhuleni metro after winning one ward from the DA in by-elections on Wednesday. 

It is one of the outcomes of multiple by-elections that took place across the country on Wednesday. The ANC won 16 of them, the DA 10 and the IFP one. 

Of the 16 wards won by the ANC in the by-elections, four were won from the DA, while the rest were retained. The 10 wards won by the DA were all retained, while the IFP’s ward was also retained. 

Ekurhuleni is in one of the three metros in Gauteng in which the ANC lost its majority during the 2016 local government elections. Ekurhuleni was the closest call, and the ANC succeeded in governing the metro through a coalition with the African Independent Congress (AIC). 

The by-election win in ward 29 in Ekurhuleni has now resulted in the ANC having 110 seats in the council in which 112 seats are needed for a majority. The DA, which is the second-largest party in the metro, is now down from 77 seats to 76 seats. 

The DA in Gauteng took a big knock in support in the province during the general election in May. This was after the party's support had surged during the local government elections in 2016. 

With the 2021 local government elections two years away, the party will need to curb the losses it experienced in 2019 to be able to realise its dreams of governing metros such as Johannesburg and Tshwane with an outright majority. 

The loss of the ward in Ekurhuleni to the ANC comes just weeks after losing a ward to the ANC in Johannesburg, which also emboldened the governing party, which hopes to win the metros back in 2021. In the meantime, it will seek to win by-elections to strengthen its position in the various hung councils. 

The ANC in Gauteng said after the outcome of the by-elections that support for the party in the province was on the rise.

There was a second ward in Ekurhuleni which went to by-elections on Wednesday, but this was retained by the DA, albeit with a reduced majority in ward 15. The party received 63.79% of the votes cast compared to 87.91% in the 2016 municipal elections. 

The outcome in this ward continues the trend seen in by-elections leading up to the 2019 general election, the election itself and in by-elections after the general election, which saw the FF Plus win votes off the DA. 

The FF Plus’s support in ward 15 grew from the 3% it received in the 2016 local government elections, to 30.22% in the ward.