The political drama is starting early this year, as the run-up to the 2021 Municipal Elections begins in earnest. The North West municipality of Mamusa – home to the town of Schweizer-Reneke – is holding a by-election in nine of its wards, as the region looks to build a new council. The old one was dissolved in October.
Mamusa Municipal Elections: Fear and voting in Schweizer-Reneke
Around 28 000 voters are expected to make their voices heard at the ballot boxes, and the select crowd may just be having a bigger say than they realise. This key battleground isn’t just of local importance, but of national significance too. That’s because we are about to learn how the land lies for political loyalties.
The ANC-run council collapsed in spectacular fashion here just a few months ago. Administrative and service delivery issues had become so lamentable, even the most die-hard supporters of the governing party reached their wit’s end – and that enabled a single-issue party to swallow-up some of that disenfranchised support.
How many seats are available in the council?
Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) were the second-most popular party in the local municipality before it was disbanded. They are hoping for a similar performance on Tuesday, and their sole focus on providing basic services to the people has certainly struck a chord with residents. Here’s how the council previously looked:
- ANC: 11 seats
- Forum 4 Service Delivery: Three seats
- EFF: Two seats
- DA: One seat
- FF Plus: One seat
ANC vs DA in Schweizer-Reneke showdown
This week, eight former ANC seats and a previously-held DA location will be subject to the ballot box. For the ANC, the stakes are high: This is a region they have fundamentally disappointed, and public opinion has swung substantially since the 2016 Municipal Elections. But even then, the signs of discontent may not be enough to nudge them down the pecking order, considering they enjoyed +60% of the vote in a majority of wards.
It’s a great honour to interact with communities around Schweizer-Reneke.
Eskom’s failure to keep the lights on is severely affecting communities and businesses here.
We are in a race against time to transform the energy landscape to help stabilise our economy and save jobs.
The DA have also arrived at the roulette table, ready to roll the dice. Holding on to their ward would be a significant achievement, after the party spent the best part of 2019 in free-fall. The main opposition of South Africa have seen their vote share plummet, at both a national and local level. A successful result here – and the possibility of gaining a seat or two on the Mamusa Council – could be the catalyst the Blues desperately need.
Learning ahead of 2021
Essentially, this is one of the biggest by-elections of the year, just 14 days after we stepped into 2020. It is seen as a dry-run for the parties ahead of next year’s Municipal Elections, and a test of their abilities to gain the trust of regions who have been badly let-down. For the ANC, this will reflect how loyal their supporters will remain. For the DA, it will indicate if they’re capable of challenging when the chips are down.
And, for all the others, this ballot represents opportunity. F4SD show that voters can be swayed by strong, succint policy direction. The EFF saw growth in the province during 2019, and following Julius Malema’s visit on Sunday, the red wave couldn’t wish for a better chance to bolster its support in this part of the country.
Mamusa Elections: The wards up for grabs on Tuesday
- Ward 1: ANC had 61.81% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 2: ANC had 53.43% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 3: ANC had 53.12% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 4: ANC had 79.57% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 5: ANC had 68.53% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 6: ANC had 68.07% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 7: ANC had 52.08% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 8: ANC had 75.56% of the vote in 2016.
- Ward 9: DA had with 21.38% of the vote in 2016.