The by elections held yesterday witnessed a turn around as independent candidates won seats in the free state province. Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality remains in the hands of the ANC, despite its expelled candidates giving it a bloody nose.

Reports revealed that the ANC retained five out of 15 wards in by-elections on Wednesday, while independents picked up 10 wards off the ANC. the municipality encompasses the towns of Phuthaditjhaba‚ Harrismith and Kestell, as well as QwaQwa’s rural areas. The vacancies in the debt-ridden municipality came about after the ANC expelled 10 councillors from the party for rebelling against the provincial executive committee by voting to elect Gilbert Mokotso as the mayor of Maluti.

Mokotso, one of the ousted ANC councillors, who stood for election as an independent, won ward 31 (Makwane Phuthaditjhaba) off the ANC, with 54% of the votes cast, compared with 21% for the ANC, EFF 18%, ACM 3% and DA 2%. The council composition is now: ANC 37 (previously 47), independents 10, EFF 9, DA 5, DPSA 4, AULA 2, APC 1 and AIC 1.