DA retains much-contested Mangaung ward

Members of the DA took to the streets of Mangaung to put up registration posters urging residents to take part in upcoming elections. PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

The DA in the Free State is ecstatic after winning the hotly contested Ward 47 by-elections that were held in Mangaung, Bloemfontein.

The ward was previously run by the DA and become vacant after one of its councillors, John de Bruin resigned last year.

De Bruin had won the ward during the last municipal elections in 2016,  The party’s Constituency Head in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Werner Horn, revealed that  party secured 1 481 votes in yesterday’s by-elections, which made up 44,26% of the votes received.

Horn said it while it was a tough race he believes that the DA’s saving grace was taking into consideration the cultural dynamics present in the ward and getting a candidate that everyone in the ward can relate to.

“One of the mistakes other parties made is to treat the ward as if it’s just Heidedal. We are well aware that Heidedal is an important part of the ward so one had to feel the candidates and have the type of campaign that speaks to all those areas.

“It’s a complex and diverse ward but the wonderful thing is that I think in Mokgadi Kganaka, we have a councillor now, who would be able to connect with everybody,” Horn said.

Kganaka will now become the councillor to Heidedal, Estoire, Raceway Park and other areas. While the DA may have won this by-election, it performed slightly less than it did in 2016, as at the time, it received 45,93% votes. Horn, however, said he believes the party did better, because it was able to capture a larger share of black voters in the ward.

Other parties that contested the ward include the African National Congress (ANC), which received 1225 votes (making up 36,61% of votes received) as well as the Economic Freedom Fighters, which received 205 votes (making up 6,13% of the total votes received). Both the ANC and the EFF received less votes in this by-election than they did in the previous one as they had 40,47% and 10,28% respectively. Other contestants in this election were the recently-formed Patriotic Alliance as well as independent candidates.

The African Progressive Movement (APMo) was also a participant until the party’s (APMo) National Chairperson, Denis Scheepers, confirmed yesterday at the eleventh hour they were withdrawing their candidate and would not partake in the by-elections.

Pulane Choane / OFM News