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ANC 'confident' it will reclaim Tlokwe

The ANC has taken the lead in the closely contested Ward Nine by-elections in Tlokwe.

The ousted ANC mayor of the Tlokwe municipality, Maphetle Maphetle. Source: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC believes its victory in the Ward Nine by-elections in Tlokwe, places it one step closer to claiming back the area from the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results following the by-election on Wednesday.

Initial indicators show the ruling party received 551 votes and independent candidate Khotso Ratikoane received 447 votes. The Democratic Alliance (DA) secured 110 votes.

The North West municipality is currently run by DA mayor Annette Combrink after she was elected to replace the ANC's Maphetle Maphetle at a controversial council meeting in Potchefstroom last month.

The ANC's Ishmael Mnisi said the party is elated by the win.

"Our victory is a demonstration that the ANC remains rooted on the ground. It sets the tone for all efforts in reclaiming Tlokwe through a democratic and credible process based on the will of the people."

North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo says the 18th of September marks a big day for the party when nine more wards will be contested.

"We are confident that by the end of the day on 18 September the ANC will be back in power and get back its majority."

However, Combrink says she believes her party will be able to retain its place.

However, she says that if the ANC does regain power in the area, it will be a mistake to appoint the same people.

"I will be utterly appalled if they stick with the same people. That is what has precipitated most of the crises hear."

The IEC's Tumelontle Thiba said the by-elections were peaceful.

"There were no major incidents. There was not much inter-party conflict with regards to the management of the elections."

TURF WAR

A number of ANC members voted for Combrink after Maphetle failed to deal with damning forensic audit findings of corruption in the municipality.

Those councillors were later expelled from the ruling party.

Maphetle's ousting left the ANC and DA at loggerheads over who the legitimate mayor of the region was. The battle also left the municipality dysfunctional with Maphetle refusing to vacate council offices as per a court order.

Maphetle and Barei Segotso, the speaker of the Tlokwe council, approached the North Gauteng High Court last month to have Maphetle's unseating as mayor declared invalid.

They also called for the meeting during which Combrink was voted in to be nullified.

However, the judge found that the meeting was lawful.

He also found that Maphetle's occupation of the mayoral office was illegal.

Mapethle filed an appeal against the decision, but abandoned his bid last week.