Jacob Zuma. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL
Jacob Zuma. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL

On Tuesday, former president Jacob Zuma embarked on a door-to-door campaign in Nkandla local municipality’s ward 7, where the ANC’s Bahle Sibiya is aiming to wrestle the ward from the IFP.

The ward became vacant following the death of IFP councillor Mphumzeni Mthombeni earlier in 2018. The IFP, the National Freedom Party (NFP) and the EFF are also fielding candidates in the by-election.

Zuma charmed hundreds of ANC supporters when he visited the voting district in the Emangidini area, where he was welcomed with song and dance. He later urged residents to come out in numbers to vote for Sibiya on Wednesday.

He said the area would only develop if residents dislodged the IFP.

Local ANC leaders said Zuma had also been expected to visit other ward 7 voting districts to drum up support for Sibiya.

Tholi Gwala, ANC Musa Dladla regional secretary, said they were very happy to receive the support of the former president.

"People were very happy to see him going about and humbly campaigning for his party. He is a selfless leader. His intervention has reinvented our hope that the ANC will win this ward. Many people are telling us that they are tired of the IFP stagnation, they want development and only the ANC is capable of delivering such development to our people."

Dladla added: "We fought a very difficult but diligent campaign and we are certain of victory. We want to deliver our people from the slavery of the IFP. We expect leaders like Msholozi to continue galvanising support for us in various voting stations, even on the voting day."

The IFP is also not taking the ANC threat on ward 7 lightly. The party held a rally at the weekend addressed by party leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

He told supporters: "The coming by-election intends to fill the vacancy left by councillor Mthombeni, and there is undoubtedly no one better to fill that vacancy than Mr Nkosinathi Skhumbuzo Khumalo. The IFP has chosen Mr Khumalo to stand for election because we believe that he is the right person to take up the good work that has been done here, and run with it."

The result of the ward 7 by-elections is expected on Thursday morning.