DA defeats ANC in Chatsworth by-election

New eThekwini DA ward 73 councillor Daniel Mea being congratulated by KwaZulu-Natal party leader Francois Rogers. Photo supplied

New eThekwini DA ward 73 councillor Daniel Mea being congratulated by KwaZulu-Natal party leader Francois Rogers. Photo supplied

Published May 26, 2023


Durban — Former DA ward 73 councillor Ronnie Pillay, who lost the by-election on Wednesday under the ANC, said he believed that the Chatsworth community rejected the ANC, not him.

Pillay, who resigned as the DA councillor in March and joined the ANC, lost the hotly contested ward to the DA’s Daniel Mea, who defeated him by 81% of votes.

The DA retained the ward with an increased majority, moving from 67% in the 2021 local government elections to 81%. Pillay’s hope of winning the ward for the ANC was raised by the deployment of the ANC’s big guns, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, during the campaign last week.

Speaking to the Daily News on Thursday, Pillay said: “The Chatsworth community rejected the ANC, but I still say that the DA cannot get things done and it is the ANC that gets things done in service delivery.”

He also blamed a low turnout for his poor showing.

DA chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal Dean Macpherson said by rejecting Pillay, ward 73 residents proved that they did not like him personally.

During the campaign, Pillay said the Chatsworth community would continue supporting him wherever he went since they had been voting for him after he left the Minority Front, where he started as a councillor.

He added that the people understood that it was he who delivered services, not the party colours. He said he had been a councillor for 15 years and had served residents with distinction.

During Ramaphosa’s visit, he also welcomed more than (former) 100 DA members but did not sway residents to the ANC.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said given that the area was extremely anti-ANC, his party was happy with its showing, which saw its votes increase from 8% in the 2021 local government elections to 17% on Wednesday.

He added that the party would build from the numbers it got for next year’s general elections.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the DA said it was humbled and elated by the trust that residents continued to have in the party.

Provincial leader Francois Rogers said his party won despite the ANC’s bogus claim that it welcomed hundreds of “former DA members” which, to date, the party does not recognise.

He also lambasted the ANC for using food parcels to win voters’ hearts, saying all of that including bringing Ramaphosa did not work.

“We are encouraged by the support that the DA continues to receive across the province as we head into the 2024 elections. It’s time to send a strong message to the ANC that we have had enough of their lies, incompetence and food vouchers, and that the DA stands ready to serve KZN’s voters. Thank you to residents who rejected the ANC. The DA will continue to serve the residents of eThekwini ward 73 to the best of our abilities,” read the statement.

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