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Mismanagement to cost the ANC its control of Thabazimbi municipality

In 2011 the ANC won the municipal elections in Thabazimbi (Limpopo) comfortably with 70% of the PR votes cast.

By 2014 that proportion had fallen to 56%. Projecting changes in voting patterns to August indicates that the ANC will remain the largest political party in Thabazimbi but will get less than half the votes cast. The actual balance of power will depend heavily on the ward component of the election and the turnout however it is likely that the ANC will have to enter into an alliance with an opposition party to govern the municipality.

In 2014 the EFF was able to gain 13% of votes cast. This, coupled to rising support for the DA and UDM, may deny the ANC a simple majority in August 3.

Should the projections be correct this election marks a pivotal moment in the fortunes of the ANC as it represents the massive deterioration of their support in a city that once epitomised their base constituency. Thabazimbi, like Rustenburg, is a relatively wealthy municipality that prospered with the mining industry. Many of those employed in the area are miners and almost all were organised by the ANC-affiliated Cosatu the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Poor municipal management has contributed to the decline of ANC support in the area. In the financial year 2014/15 the Auditor General rated the municipalities adherence to financial requirements as poor – it received a Disclaimer audit. The Auditor General indicates that R62.3 million was associated with unauthorised, irregular or wasteful expenditure.

Thabazimbi has exhibited the other characteristics of a failed administration. The municipality was placed under administration in 2015 and may soon be placed under provincial administration again. In 2015 Eskom intended to suspend bulk supplies of electricity to the municipality.

Michael O’ Donovan

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