MK Party wins first ward in hotly contested by-elections

MKP candidate Sbonelo Maphumulo snatched Ward 11 from the ANC. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

MKP candidate Sbonelo Maphumulo snatched Ward 11 from the ANC. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 20, 2024


Durban — Despite not living up to expectations, the Jacob Zuma-led uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) is high on confidence after winning its first-ever ward during the bitterly contested by-elections in Umzumbe yesterday.

And the party couldn't have asked for a better way to win the ward than to snatch it from its bitter rivals, the ANC.

Prominent MKP candidate Sbonelo Maphumulo, the former speaker of the ANC in Umzumbe Local Municipality, won Ward 11, a feat he achieved after a run-off with the ANC and the on-form IFP.

Maphumulo, who is from a well-known local business family, raked in 31% of votes, beating the ANC with 11% and the IFP with 17 votes.

Maphumulo was dramatically expelled from the ANC in December last year after he was accused of leading a plot to allegedly topple ANC Mayor Bongani Nyuswa.

Maphumulo denied ever being part of such a plot, but the party stood its ground and showed him the door.

In solidarity, five other ANC councillors and their sympathisers dumped the party and joined the MK Party.

However, the other five MKP candidates: Ayanda Duma, Mduduzi Lushaba, Sihle Hadebe, Thulo Mkhungo and Thuthukani Jeza all failed to win the wards they contested.

The six by-elections were prompted by the defections of six ANC councillors, who joined MKP earlier this year.

Of the six wards that were previously governed by the ANC in Umzumbe, the party lost four – three to the IFP and one to the MKP – and successfully defended two.

Following the by-elections, the 39-seater council composition in Umzumbe has changed with the IFP now holding 17 seats, a rise from the 14 it had before the by-elections.

The IFP is tied with the ANC in 17 seats after the latter dropped from 21, while the EFF remains with the two, and the new council entrant, the MKP, with one, along with the ATM and the APEMO.

Thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Government of National Unity (GNU), which has the IFP, among other parties, any coalition that would have included the IFP and any other party would have summarily led to the unseating of the ANC in the Umzumbe Local Municipality.

However, the ANC will be saved by the national GNU power deal, which filters down to the wards.

The IFP and ANC are part of the GNU that has, among others, the DA, PAC and Patricia De Lille's GOOD party.

The IFP emerged as the biggest winners in the by-elections, winning three wards off the ANC and snatching one from UMvoti Mayor Philani Mavundla's Abantu Botho Congress (ABC) in Umvoti.

The IFP also warded off competition and successfully retained its wards in Uphongolo and Nongoma.

The DA thanked its voters after winning Ward 5 of the ANC in Newcastle.

Not all was doom and gloom for the struggling ANC as the party was able to successfully retain Ward 1 in Umzimkhulu under Harry Gwala District Municipality. The ANC bagged 60%, the MKP 23%, the IFP 16% and the EFF 1%.

KZN Provincial Electoral Officer Ntombifuthi Masinga said the by-elections proceeded without any glitches.

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