With a year to go to the crucial 2019 national elections, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) appears to be capitalising on opponents’ weaknesses to secure several recent municipal by-election victories. Just last week the IFP grew its support in ward 7 in the Nkandla municipality despite the ANC sending in KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu and disgraced former president Jacob Zuma to lobby support for the ANC. THe IFP increased its support in the highly contested ward from 51% to 53%, while the ANC support dropped from 48% to 45%. The ANC had earlier in May lost a ward to the IFP in Matubatuba where it grew its support from 36.7% to 47.1%. The party also won a by-election in ward 2 in Jozini in April this year with an overwhelming majority.

Most notably, the IFP won 14 out of 17 wards in by-elections in Nquthu in 2017, giving the party a majority in the council that allowed it to elect its candidate as mayor in the northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal ...

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