As the hotly-contested race in Ward 5 heated up this weekend, the DA wheeled in the heavy artillery: Knysna native and Western Cape premier Alan Winde came down from Cape Town to hold three separate meetings with voters on Saturday: in Brenton, Belvidere and Rheenendal.


But hold on! Local by-elections rarely merit a visit from a provincial premier. Who has got the Big Blue Wave checking in  their rearview mirror?


At national, provincial and even local municipal level, the main threat to South Africa’s official opposition party is of course the ANC. 


But not in Ward 5. If we look at the results of the 2016 local elections, the ANC only managed to garner about 17% of the ballots cast in Knysna’s 5th ward—to the DA’s 74%!


Three months ago, even fewer ward 5 voters (14%) opted for the ANC in the May 2019 national and provincial election, whilst the DA still polled 68% of the total.


Similarly, this past May the “Plaaslike Besorgte Inwoners(“PBI”), only took about 10% of the votes in ward 5. As for the EFF: no one expects the party of Julius Malema to climb out of the single digits in ward 5.


That leaves only… KIM- the Knysna Independent Movement, and our candidate, Susan Campbell.


It seems that Susan “KIM” Campbell has been making serious inroads in the DA’s ward 5 stronghold over the past fortnight. Her turnout has been consistently better than or equal to premier Winde’s was on Saturday, and her performance in this past week’s debates has elicited approving statements on social media, (“The only grown-up in the room,” etc.) rather than criticism. 


Premier Alan Winde also seemed to recognise the threat posed by KIM when he sought to convince voters in Belvidere on Saturday not to vote for independents. Two weeks earlier, the DA’s campaign manager Dion George also warned against voting for independents, saying this would split the vote and allow the ANC to win. But as we have already seen, given their track record in ward 5, the ANC is not a serious contender in this race.


Even so, KIM faces a monumental task. Our party, which was registered on 19th July, only started campaigning about 3 weeks ago, whilst the DA has consistently garnered between two-thirds and three-fourths of the votes in ward 5 in the four elections since 2011. However, given the DA candidate’s less than impressive performance in the debates and the low attendance at their “Let’s Talk” functions, a victory by KIM’s Susan Campbell is still a real possibility if enough disgruntled voters make it to the polls. 


The result should be known by midnight 

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