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More Opinion and Analysis

The battle for Gauteng

2014-05-06 07:35

There is only one day left to the 2014 national and provincial elections. It was no coincidence that the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) held that final election rallies in Gauteng. There are currently 6 063 739 million registered voters in Gauteng followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 5.1 million, the Eastern Cape with 3.24 million and the Western Cape with 2.9 million. Between them these four provinces make up almost 68% of all voters. The election battle on May 07 will be won and lost in Gauteng.  This election will no doubt be a three horse race between ANC, DA and the EFF. These three parties pulled out the all stops to ensure that their final rallies in Gauteng were a resounding success.

DA’s finally rally: Vote For Jobs

The DA held its “Vote For Jobs Rally” at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg on Saturday which attracted well over 8000 of DA supporters. There was much fun fare and excitement as musicians such as iFani, Micasa and Bucie Nqwiliso performed for the crowd ahead of the official start of the political programme. The DA’s premier candidate Mmusi Maimane walked out to Mafikizolo’s popular song “Khona” and he was warmly received by the crowd. What is interesting is that Mmusi Maimane during his speech mentioned that he was from Dobsenville, Soweto. Why does he always feel the need to validate that was he was born in Soweto? You hardly ever hear Julius Malema telling people that he was born in the township of Seshego in Limpopo. What was great was that Helen Zille spoke in at least four different languages to show that she was really reaching out to the black voters. This was a well organised event and proceedings went smoothly without any glitches and it looked good on TV to watch as well.

DA Vote For Jobs Rally in Johannesburg

DA Vote For Jobs Rally in Johannesburg

ANC’s finally rally: Siyanqoba

The ANC held its “Siyanqoba Rally” this past Sunday as a show of force and victory. The 94 000 seater FNB Stadium was packed to capacity with high profile music artists performing much to delight of the crowd. A low blow of the event was when the ANCYL’s Mzwandile Masina said the following about Mmusi Maimane:”The little Obama of Gauteng who walks around with a borrowed confidence, whom because of ANC policies is able to marry a white woman.”  President Jacob Zuma was welcomed with much excitement, cheers and vuvuzelas by the masses.

While President Zuma was speaking Jesse Duarte and Gwede Manthashe were fiddling with their phones and not listening attentively to their president. The ANC president Jacob Zuma got less than 10 minutes into his speech before people started to leave the stadium. The FNB Stadium that was full to capacity was suddenly empty within 30 minutes his dull, boring and monotone delivery of his speech. What this proves is that the ANC as a brand is popular with the masses but the Zuma brand is not as popular hence the people started leaving showing that they have no respect for Zuma. President Zuma closed off his speech with” Yinde Lendlela”.  He sang that song was such gust, passion and confidence like never before. Perhaps that was the highlight of his appearance as he connected with the audience at the FNB stadium.

ANC Rally at FNB Stadium as Zuma was speaking

ANC Rally at FNB Stadium as Zuma was speaking

EFF’s finally rally: Tshela Thupa

The EFF was launched in October last year in Marikana. These are the new kids on the block and they have managed to hold successful rallies in all the nine provinces the country and filled stadiums. The only other party that has successful managed to hold rallies at stadiums is the ANC. The EFF hosted its final “Tshela Thupa Rally” at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane this past Sunday. Despite the many challenges including financial constraints the EFF manage to pull together a packed 30 000 crowd with a zero budget for their election campaign. The EFF did a display of how they will physically remove the e-tolls in Gauteng. They demonstrated that e-tolls will not be removed emotionally and spiritually but physically. Julius Malema kept his supporters spellbound for the entire duration of his speech, throwing jokes and dissecting the EFF election manifesto in simple terms for his audience. He spoke mostly in his mother tongue Sepedi, as the audience that was in attendance was SeSotho (Tswana, Pedi and Sotho) speaking in that area of Tshwane. Malema connected with the audience and they stayed to listen to his entire speech even though he arrived late at the event. The ANC’s Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize made an excuse that people left FNB Stadium as President Zuma was speaking as it was too hot; strangely enough Tshwane is generally hotter than Soweto and none of the EFF supporters left during Malema’s speech.

EFF Rally at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane

EFF Rally at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane

Who will win Gauteng?

The DA has dreams of wining Gauteng outright. This will remain NOTHING but a pipedream as the odds are stacked up against them. The reality in SA is that people vote based on identity and race. The DA is still a largely white party hence it will not make as many gains in Gauteng as it did in the Western Cape.

Gauteng Population Racial Profile According to Census 2011:

•         Black African: 77.4%

•         White: 15.6%

•         Coloured: 3.5%

•         Indian or Asian: 2.9%

Western Population Racial Profile According to Census 2011:

•         Coloured: 48.8%

•         Black African: 32.8%

•         White: 15.7%

•         Indian or Asian: 1.0%

The greatest hurdle that the DA needs to climb is the one relating to race. The racial profile in the Western Cape has always been a challenge to the ANC hence post 1994 it has always been easy for the DA to snatch the Western Cape away from the ANC. The Western Cape was a previous strong hold of the National Party (NP). Even in the 1994 elections the ANC could not win the Western Cape and the NP was in control of that province.

But Gauteng is a completely different ball game as this has always been the ANC’s stronghold province. Racial politics off course worked in the ANC’s favour in the past elections. The ANC has always struggled with convincing the coloured community to vote for them but that is not the case in Gauteng. Almost 80% of Gautengers are black Africans so by virtue of this; the DA which is a party founded on white monopoly capital principles will have a hard time trying to wrestle away such a province from the ANC.

The EFF is strong in at least five provinces namely Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga, Free State and Gauteng. The EFF has a great chance of being the official opposition in at least four of these provinces. The DA has reached a racial ceiling hence the EFF is capable of being the official opposition. In Gauteng, there are many challenges faced by the ANC including e-tolls, service delivery protests, municipal billing issues, load shedding that happened earlier in the year and potholes.

When you examine Gauteng, the EFF has really entrenched itself in most of the densely populated townships and informal settlements namely in Soweto, Alex, Tembisa, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Mohlakeng, Mamelodi, Diepsloot, Sebokeng, Soshanguve, Attridgeville, Kwa-Thema, Daveyton, Tsakane, Orange Farm to name but a few. You cannot win Gauteng unless you have the township vote on your side. This is where the greatest numbers are and will ultimately determine who will win Gauteng. The DA is falling short and not so strong in most of these areas; it doesn’t have enough of the township support on its side. It will be a lot easier for a township voter to switch their vote from the ANC to the EFF than to switch from the ANC to the DA. The reality on the ground is that people at taxi ranks, shebeens, taverns and “shisa nyama” hangout spots are talking about the EFF and Malema’s name is a household name. Unfortunately, Mmusi Maimane has not yet captured the imagination of township and informal settlement dwellers simply because people cannot relate to him. Most importantly, the majority of black people in township simply do not trust the DA. Yes, the DA might win most of the votes from the leafy suburbs of northern Johannesburg but that is simply will not be enough to take control of the Gauteng.  The ANC’s own internal poll shows that it currently polling between 36%-45% in Gauteng.

My election prediction for Gauteng is as follows:

Gauteng Results Prediction

Gauteng Results Prediction

In politics perceptions become reality therefore, the DA is still seen a white party and people on May 07 are going vote based on racial lines. The black majority still doesn’t trust a white person to be given political power with Helen Zille at the helm. You cannot win elections unless you have the majority of black South Africans supporting you. There is this notion that young people don’t really care or bothered with politics but with the emergence of EFF that has changed immensely. Actually what is great about EFF is that for the first time since 1976 that young people have mobilised on this scale so effectively. Most of the EFF activists are young people and have gone out of their way to attract voters. The DA has been campaigning tirelessly but it is highly unlikely that they win Gauteng.

Read more on: da  |  anc  |  eff  |  elections 2014

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