PIETERMARITZBURG, July 24 – Political parties have moved to full swing in garnering votes for the upcoming by-election in ward 32 in Msunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg) scheduled for August 2.
On Sunday, political parties descended at Jika Joe informal settlement, urging locals to vote for them. The informal settlement has a high concentration of voters and is seen as one of the key areas that will determine the winning party.
Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) activists came out in their numbers on a charm offensive in the informal settlement and all were upbeat about their chances.
DA leader in Pietermaritzburg Mergan Chetty said the campaign had gone well and they expected to win. “It is in the bag. Remember this is a DA-controlled ward and we are not about to lose it,” said Chetty.
Seasoned IFP leader, Dolo Zondi, predicted a win for his party, saying they had fielded a strong candidate with grassroots support. This was in reference to Peter Greene, the former DA councillor now campaigning under the IFP banner. “Our candidate is a people’s person and community activist, he embodies what our party stands for which is non-racialism,” said Zondi.
The EFF’s Khumbulani Nene said the party would surprise many at the by-election.
Independent Electoral Commission regional manager, Khulekani Mdadane, said they were satisfied about the build-up to the by election. “All parties competing in the ward have signed a code of conduct and so far no incidents of intimidation have been reported, so from our side everything is going well,” said Mdadane.
The ward 32 councillor position became vacant when Uraisha Haswell from the DA resigned over a month ago, prompting the by-election.