Analysis: By-election trends suggest DA to govern Joburg, Tshwane in 2016

By Alec Hogg

By-Election Table South Africa

Now that he has had an opportunity to study the detailed results released by the Electoral Commission of SA, Maimane would be forgiven were his mood to improve still further to “expectant”. If the latest trends continue, the DA stands an excellent chance of being appointed by voters to run the metros of both Johannesburg and Tshwane after next year’s Municipal Elections.

In the by-elections, in one of the eight wards contested (Paarl) a DA candidate defeating an incumbent ANC councillor after an 14 percentage point swing in the vote. The ANC won two uncontested by-elections but in the wards where votes were counted, all but one reflected a strong swing towards the DA where its incumbents gaining strongly and ANC candidates had their majorities significantly reduced.

As our table below shows the only contest to buck the trend was in the Oudtshoorn ward where the DA retained the seat with a fractionally smaller majority with 74% (75% in the 2011 Municipal election.)

All eight of the Municipal by-elections contested on November 11 reflect a strong swing away from the ANC to the official opposition.

The key by-elections held in Johannesburg and Tshwane, delivered double digit swings to the DA. Were this trend to continue in the 2016 Municipal Elections, governance of both cities move from the ANC to the DA, whose professional governance of Cape Town has earned local and global plaudits and been noticed by ratepayers in other metros.

Municipal Elections in Johannesburg

In Houghton, Johannesburg, the DA share of the vote surged from 73% to 93%. How much this had to do with the strength of candidate Mia Snyman is uncertain. Also, as the poll dropped from 50% to 22% of the eligible voters, signifiant uncertainty remains. But the move away from the ANC to the DA trend is stark.

In the 2011 Johannesburg Municipal elections, the ANC received 59.29% of the total vote against the DA’s 34.35%. A 13 percentage point swing next year would be enough to make the DA the biggest party, while just over 15 percentage points would be required to deliver an absolute majority.

Percentage of votes cast for the two major parties in Johannesburg's last three Municipal elections

In the Tshwane Ward which was contested where Mosadisadi Kekana won for the ANC, the majority fell by 10 percentage points, again with a sharp drop in the poll which fell from 51% to 21%.

During Tshwane Metro’s 2011 Municipal election the ANC received 56.5% compared with the DA’s 38.7%. A swing like the one seen in the by-election would put the DA within an ace of the absolute majority required to take over the governance of the metro next year.