Voters begin casting ballots in SA's largest by-elections ever

It is the largest by-elections in South Africa ever and takes place on a single day with 107 seats are up for grabs in 95 wards. More than 400 candidates will contest in 55 municipalities across all nine provinces.

FILE: A voter placing her marked ballots into the local and national ballot boxes on 8 May 2019. Picture: Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - From 7am, voters will head to the polls to take part in by-elections across the country.

It is the largest by-elections in South Africa ever and takes place on a single day with 107 seats are up for grabs in 95 wards. More than 400 candidates will contest in 55 municipalities across all nine provinces.

Eleven wards are being contested in the Western Cape.

Big political parties will battle smaller ones for control of wards in the province.

There will be key battles in municipalities like George and Knysna.

Former George mayor Melvin Naik was removed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said that the party must work to repair the damage done by former Knysna mayor, Mark Willemse, who is now an independent candidate.

"IF voters continue to vote for individuals, the status quo will remain in Knysna. We are hoping to win those two wards."

The African National Congress (ANC)'s Ronalda Nalumango said that they were also pushing hard in these wards.

"The two by-elections that are happening there could swing the council but we are remaining positive as the ANC and the processes that were put in place should be able to give us victory in the Knysna Municipality."

Nalumango said that Cape Town would always be important.

"The by-elections that are happening in Cape Town, two of those wards are ANC-stronghold wards and we are going to retain those two wards."

The Good Party will be contesting in six wards today - four in George, one in Saldana and one in Langa in Cape Town.

The party's Brett Herron said that although they were called a small party, they were a new party that presented a new alternative to voters.

"Voters and communities are disillusioned with the old parties. They are fatigued and frustrated with broken promises and the response to our knocking on doors and communicating with voters on issues that they care about and we are seeing a tremendous response to local candidates."

And the Freedom Front Plus will be contesting in 23 wards. Party leader Pieter Groenewald said that they wanted to ensure that there were coalition governments.

He added that the DA needed a watchdog and that they could play that role but would never go into a coalition with the ANC.

"The projection from the 2019 elections, we are picking it up in these elections now. We also believe that in the municipal elections that the trend will continue."

EXPLAINER: What are by-elections?

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