Parties hit the campaign trail – on the head: DA

2013-06-09 14:00

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As election fever starts to take hold, City Press previews what the ANC, the DA and Agang are doing to lay claim to those all-important ballots

The Independent Electoral Commission’s machinery has not yet kicked into gear, but political parties are already in campaign mode for next year’s general election, set to take place in May.

This was brought on by the DA’s controversial pre-election campaign, highlighting the party’s struggle past; and by Mamphela Ramphele’s announcement of her newcomer party, Agang, in February.

The ANC had been too preoccupied with preparing for its national elective conference in Mangaung in December last year to effectively campaign, but it went into election mode soon after.

The early election campaigns kicked off as the economy showed signs of going into stagflation, a labour crisis in the mines and yet another scandal rocking Zuma, this time relating to the landing of a plane chartered by the Gupta brothers, who are family friends of Zuma’s, at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April.

The DA is officially in “pre-elections phase” and the party is running campaigns designed to lay the foundation for when real electioneering begins.

The #KnowYourDA campaign, which highlighted the anti-apartheid efforts of the DA’s precursors, is aimed at countering “ANC propaganda” about the DA, party spokesperson Mmusi Maimane has said.

It has caused such a stir that the ANC has called for a parliamentary debate on the topic – something DA MPs are considering a small victory.

They say the ANC’s criticism has helped their message reach areas it wouldn’t normally have reached.

The campaign also involved distributing three million leaflets and doing one million house visits.

Part of this campaign – advertising the party on cellphone airtime vouchers – this week incurred the wrath of the ANC.

Maimane promised that more such “innovative” campaigns were in the pipeline.

The party has set itself a target of pulling 5.4 million of the national vote and insiders believe they could get close to it or actually even reach the target.

Traditionally, the DA relies heavily on campaigns in the media, and it has a strong social media presence.

This week’s announcement that it would donate ­ R1 million to help fund the court battle against e-tolls could be considered another electioneering stunt and is proof that the party could pull the funds needed to run a decent campaign.

E-tolls are set to affect Gauteng commuters most and this province together with Northern Cape are within the DA’s sights as places where an opposition coalition could govern after next year’s elections, in addition to winning Western Cape again.

» Face of the campaign: Helen Zille

» 2009 share of the vote: 16.7%

ANC vs DA: How the vote has changed

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