In spite of being under fire over the Nkandla controversy and service delivery protests, the majority African National Congress (ANC) won seven out of 10 wards contested in by-elections around the country on Wednesday, according to results released by the Independent Electoral Commission on Thursday.
The party retained Ward 1 in the Makana municipality in the Eastern Cape near Grahamstown, with its candidate Melikaya Phongolo keeping the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) at bay with 77% of the votes in a poll where 44% of registered voters went to vote.
In KwaZulu-Natal's Umshwathi, (Wartburg), the ANC cleaned up with 95% in a 41% poll with its candidate Sbonelo Justice Luthuli, keeping the seat.
But in KwaZulu-Natal, in Ntamba, the Inkatha Freedom Party's Zakheleni Zibuse Xulu snatched the ward from the ANC with 53% of the vote where 55% of registered voters turned up.
In Limpopo's Blouberg (Bochum/My Darling), the ANC's Mmangwako Jonathan Sekgoloane was uncontested in a seat previously also held by the party.
Highly contested Western Cape
In Mpumalanga's Steve Tshwete municipality (Middelburg) where 21.9% of registered voters pitched, the ANC's Doctor Stefaans Khanyile retained the ward with 90.8%.
Kenneth Maluleka also retained a ward in Moretele (Makapanstad) for the party with 91%. Thirty-eight percent of voters voted.
In the highly contested Western Cape, the ANC's Dinah Okhuis took a ward in Matzikama (Vredendal) from the DA with 50.06%. Sixty-two percent of voters in the ward made their mark.
The ANC retained a ward in Langeberg (Robertson) with Benjamin Fanele getting 82% of the vote.
In a ward in Knysna, the DA's Mark Sydney Willemse retained one ward for the party with 68% of the vote and Peter Joseph Meyers getting 99% in another ward.
In a statement relating to its victory in Makana, the ANC's Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson Mlibo Qhoboshiyane applauded voters for retaining the ''experienced'' party and considered it a taste of what was to come in next year's local government elections.
-Jenni Evans, News24