Analysts say Wednesday's Ward 13 by-election result in the uMhlathuze Local Municipality shows that KwaZulu-Natal is likely to have a coalition government after next year's general election.
The IFP on Wednesday continued its resurgence when it snatched Richards Bay Ward 13, in the uMhlathuze Local Municipality, from the ANC. The ward was regarded as a safe seat for the ANC and its loss to the IFP is a worrying blow for the ruling party.
The by-election win came just two weeks after the death of the IFP's founding leader and long-time president, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Umhlathuze is the third most populous municipality in KZN after eThekwini (Durban) and Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) and is one of the biggest economic hubs of the province, containing the busy Richards Bay harbour and blue-chip mining and other companies.
The backed-up traffic caused by long queues of trucks arriving in the town to offload minerals and other goods destined for international markets was one of the hot electoral issues.
In the November 2021 local government elections, the ANC beat the IFP in the ward by 40 percentage points in an easy win for the former ANC ward councillor, Lindokuhle Ndlovu.
Ndlovu resigned after surviving an assassination attempt when his bakkie was sprayed with bullets while he was driving it. This was less than a month after the lone ACDP councillor, John Myaka,...