Africa-Press – South-Africa. The EFF’s win in a competitive ward in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in 2016 has inspired a first-time councillor candidate for ActionSA to test her chances of winning over the community’s support in a by-election in July.
ActionSA will be testing its chances beyond Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal when the party contests its first ward in the Eastern Cape.
The party hopes to grow its base ahead of the national elections in 2024, and it has chosen the ANC stronghold of the Eastern Cape to do that.
Earlier this year, the party appointed Athol Trollip to lead its growth in the Eastern Cape.
As a former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor and long-time political leader in the province, his appointment was seen as a move that could boost ActionSA.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro is challenging territory for both the DA and the ANC.
The ANC, which managed 39.43% of the votes in the 2021 municipal elections, narrowly governs the metro.
Having previously governed the municipality through a troubled coalition, the DA had 39.92% of the votes.
Chances of winning
The ANC’s Andile Andries became the ward councillor of Ward 43 following the 2021 municipal elections after taking over from the EFF, but he was shot dead in May. The Ward 43 by-election will be held on 6 July.
Andries, from KwaNobuhle, was one of two ANC councillors who were shot dead in May.
Thandazwa Cholani, who describes herself as a committed activist, said her chances of winning were solid.
Cholani, 32, said residents of her ward were very optimistic about ActionSA’s presence.
She said this was evident in continuous calls from eager people to her about her campaign and the party.
Another confidence boost for Cholani is her community’s willingness to give opposition political parties a chance.
Ward 43 was won by the EFF in 2016.
Cholani said residents saw the need for an alternative to the ANC.
“The ANC was in charge of this ward since 1995. It is a good thing when people look around and see that there is no change and begin voting differently. When the EFF took over, I was also happy because we were pleased with the possibility of change,” Cholani said.
KwaNobuhle, like many areas in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and the province, suffers from a lack of service delivery.
“We are facing an electricity and water problem in this area, and toilets do not work. You find that even the infrastructure of the houses built by previous governments is dilapidated,” Cholani said.
Cholani said Trollip convinced her that she had not done enough.
She told News24:
“This is my calling. I love working with people.”
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said it was necessary for the party to test the waters in the Eastern Cape.
He pointed to the confidence boost in the party after it swept to electoral wins in several areas in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. He said the by-election in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro was an opportunity for ActionSA’s growth.
“It is a competitive ward. We are testing the waters, and we believe that come 2024, we are going to be a party contesting in all nine provinces,” Mashaba said.