THE African National Congress (ANC) has won Ward 4 in the Bitou municipality by the smallest of margins, with party candidate Hilda Plaatjies pipping the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Elaine Paulse by 37 votes.
The result means the DA will not secure the majority vote in council it had campaigned for in the runup to the election.
In 2011 Ms Paulse lost by a margin of 124 votes and it was the DA’s belief that she could win the ward, which includes the township of Kwanokuthula.
“We are shocked to have only lost by 37 votes, but at the same time we are happy,” Ms Paulse said.
“The fact is that we won the ward’s other area, New Horizons, convincingly, where we had no foothold there in 2009. This close result shows that we are certainly making inroads in Plettenberg Bay.”
She said while she could accept the loss, it was particularly hard for those who had been canvassing on her behalf.
“They worked so hard. They can’t bear the thought that their wards will continue to be an ANC ward. But I have told them to keep calm, because the result shows that we are making huge progress in Bitou.”
Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman said he was especially elated with the ANC’s victory in Bitou.
“DA leader Helen Zille was desperate for a win there so that they can have full majority, so we are happy we won that ward.
“Overall we are satisfied with the by-election results and it shows we are on track for a 2014 victory and it shows that when the ANC is a cohesive force, we can make inroads.”
In Oudtshoorn, the DA managed to wrest the municipality away from the ANC after the latter did not manage to win all three wards.
While the ANC won two of the required three wards, the DA’s Jurie Harmse beat the ANC’s Susara Amsterdam by 859 votes to 707 in ward 13.
DA chairman for the Western Cape’s Eastern region Christelle Vosloo said this was a very important election for them. “Now we are in control of Oudtshoorn.”
“People of Oudtshoorn have now shown they no longer want corruption and poor service delivery. They have made it clear they want good municipal governance and mayors with integrity and a party with discipline. All the problems in Oudtshoorn will now be sorted out.”
In George, the DA retained Ward 1, allowing the party to continue to enjoy full control of the municipality.
Source: Business Day Live