Election results: It’s tough at the bottom

2014-05-08 17:29

New political parties that have been battered at the polls are clinging to the hope that the metros will give them the votes they need to secure seats in Parliament.

City Press spoke to a number of new political parties halfway through the counting of votes about their prospects as results trickled in from more than 22 000 voting stations around the country.

Among the new political players, only the Economic Freedom Fighters has something to show for its campaigning. It has already clinched parliamentary seats and looks set to become the official opposition in Limpopo.

The parties have blamed their poor showing at the polls on a lack of funding and blamed voters for being “immature” and wasting their votes on the governing party, the ANC.

Front National, a new party with a focus on Afrikaner voters, said it was disappointed with its poor showing but was hopeful that results from metros such as Ethekwini, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg, which are yet to be tallied, would give it a boost to secure seats.

Front National’s youth leader Francois Cloete sat anxiously at his party’s desk at the national results centre in Pretoria, staring at the screen, which displays the updated results as they come in.

Cloete said they were hoping to get at least 50 000 votes by the end of the count, which would secure the party a seat in Parliament.

However, by 3.30pm, the party had only amassed 2 886 votes on the national ballot.

“We’re expecting to get at least 10 000 by the time counting is completed. For a party that had only three months to campaign, we haven’t done badly but it’s certainly below our expectations,” said Cloete.

Ubuntu party founder Michael Tellinger was also hopeful that his party, with only 4 421 votes halfway though the counting, would secure a seat.

However, Tellinger was critical of voters who have remained loyal to the ANC despite “overwhelming proof of corruption within the ANC ranks”.

“I’m astounded that after 20 years of the ANC failing to deliver services and letting the people down, the voters are still giving them another chance. Maybe the voters are under a magic spell and the oppressed are digging their own holes to more oppression.”

Like Cloete, Tellinger pointed to a lack of “voter education”.

Tellinger plans to turn the Ubuntu party into a “trans-border and transnational party”, which contests elections overseas.

His US counterparts have already opened an Ubuntu party office there and there are plans to expand to Canada, Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Bosnia and New Zealand.

“We will be back in 2016 and will be a force to be reckoned with. By then, we will have an Ubuntu party in all these countries,” said Tellinger.

Another new kid on the block was the North West-based Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp). It only managed to get 5 034 votes nationally.

Wasp’s deputy secretary-general Liv Shange said the party was “amazed” that the ANC was ahead in areas like Bekkersdal where Wasp had amassed huge support in its campaigns.

“It’s amazing how we are at the bottom in those areas and we expected to do well. Elections are tough and are not a playground. But the results so far are a major disappointment for us.”

She said Wasp would be back to contest the 2016 municipal elections. Wasp intends focusing more on local campaigning and fund-raising in future.

Agang SA’s Garth Towell attributed his party’s poor showing at the polls to a lack of funding for campaigns.

“The important thing now is to get our leader, Mamphela Ramphele, in Parliament. We need 50 000 votes and we will be secure. It will be tight but we hope the results from the metros will give us a boost to get a seat,” said Towell.

Agang SA only had 24 439 votes halfway through the count.

Co-founder of the Patriotic Alliance, Kenny Kunene, was upbeat about the party's prospects.

“We only had four months to campaign and limited resources but we have achieved a lot if you look at the fact that we had zero support in January.

“We focused on the Western Cape but failed to unseat the DA there. We’ve worked very hard but we are undeterred by these results because we are already planning for the 2016 municipal elections,” said Kunene.

The Patriotic Alliance has garnered only 10 988 votes and need four times more to get a seat in Parliament.

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