Zuma’s MK lands another big by-election result; Gayton’s PA wins too

Predictions that Jacob Zuma’s re-entry into South African politics is a “gamechanger” were confirmed yesterday when his MK party produced a strong showing in just the second by-election it has contested, building on a 20% share grabbed earlier this month. It was also a big day for Gayton McKenzie’s Patriotic Alliance which surged to a famous by-election victory in the Western Cape, unseating a DA councillor for the first time.

Sign up for your early morning brew of the BizNews Insider to keep you up to speed with the content that matters. The newsletter will land in your inbox at 5:30am weekdays. Register here.

Watch here

Download Alec Hogg’s PowerPoint presentation below

Listen here

Edited transcript of the video ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

South Africa is approaching the 2024 national and provincial election, tentatively set for May 29th, although the official announcement is pending. Signs point to this date, but some suggest an earlier date, possibly May 22nd. Regardless, it’s a significant event, approximately two and a half months away. Today marks a crucial moment as we delve into the results of yesterday’s by-elections.

These by-elections occur when a ward councillor in a local election has either passed away or changed parties, necessitating the appointment of a new ward councillor. Yesterday saw seven such by-elections, with five producing intriguing outcomes, notably Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party.

Zuma, a former president, has positioned himself against his former party, the ANC, the current ruling party in South Africa. The recent election took place in the far North of KwaZulu-Natal, near Uphongola. Zuma’s party secured 28% of the votes, a notable increase from its first election earlier this month in Vryheid, where MK got 20%.

A highlight was Gayton McKenzie’s Patriotic Alliance (PA), celebrating a sweeping victory in George, marking its fourth ward win since the 2021 national local elections. Crucially, it’s the first time the PA has claimed a seat from a sitting Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor.

Looking at other results, the DA managed to retain a ward in Grabouw, Western Cape, despite a spirited challenge from the PA. Additionally, they performed well in a Gauteng ward, where the vote share surged to almost 90%, up from around 60% previously.

Analysing the overall results from the electoral commission, the ANC retained expected seats in the Free State and the North West province, where it holds considerable strength. Challenges arose elsewhere, notably in Uphongolo Ward 2, where the IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party) maintained the ward but witnessed a drop in vote share.

In deep rural KwaZulu-Natal, Jacob Zuma’s MK party altered the landscape, turning it from a two-way contest between the IFP and the ANC to a more dynamic scenario. Notably, Newcastle showed strength for the IFP, securing its 13th by-election victory in the province, while the ANC’s share collapsed in Ward 11.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) faced challenges in Newcastle, with their vote share halving. Gayton McKenzie’s party, the Patriotic Alliance, achieved a remarkable victory in George Ward 8, increasing from 5% in 2021 to 63%, benefitting from the GOOD party’s absence.

Reflecting on these results, it’s evident that Jacob Zuma’s re-emergence into South African politics is gaining traction, aligning with recent Social Research Foundation (SRF) polls in KwaZulu-Natal. The upcoming election in two and a half months appears to be exceptionally tight and intriguing.

A significant aspect is whether Zuma’s MK decides to align with the ANC after the KwaZulu-Natal vote. Previously, it seemed likely that the IFP and the DA, partners in the Multi-Party Charter, would secure just over 50% of the vote. However, Zuma’s entry into the fray has altered this dynamic.

Another noteworthy point is the Multi-Party Charter’s desire for the Patriotic Alliance to join, while the DA, the largest party in the charter, resists. Smaller parties in the charter, like the IFP, ActionSA, and the Freedom Front, express the need for the PA’s votes.

These developments call for a reconsideration of strategies, urging parties to recognise shared interests and for the DA to navigate challenges, particularly in the Western Cape. The electorate dynamics, especially among the coloured population, are shifting toward supporting the Patriotic Alliance.

As we approach more by-elections before the polls, the timing remains uncertain. The proposed May 29th date appears to be the earliest possibility for the ANC to complete administrative tasks, as indicated by their booking of the FNB stadium in Johannesburg for a rally just before that date. Furthermore, postponing the election into winter is undesirable, considering the constitutional requirement for an election before the end of August.

In conclusion, these localised results offer strong indicators for Jacob Zuma’s resurgence and reveal intriguing challenges and alliances within South African politics. The politicians will undoubtedly grapple with these questions in the coming weeks.

Read also: