Battle for the cities

2011-05-14 17:53

The election on Wednesday is a battle for the cities. It will go down to the wire in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), with possible swings in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Power in the cities is power over the economic and political core, and consolidates political muscle ahead of the 2014 general elections.

A Markinor poll released yesterday showed that 52% of respondents would definitely vote for the ANC, with 10% suggesting they might do so.

The 62% suggests a drop of about 5 percentage points for the governing party on the 2006 local election result.

In the DA’s corner, 17% of respondents said they would definitely tick for the opposition, while a further 9% said they might do so, giving the party a potential total of 26%, double the 13.9% poll outcome in 2006.

The poll will be won or lost in the cities.

It is the first electoral test of the new-look, post-Polokwane ANC and how it has wielded power in all but one of the metros.

Infrastructure, jobs and crime are the top three issues, says Markinor’s Mari Harris.

Cape Town, the only metro not held by the ANC, will be the first electoral test of DA rule.

It measures the ability of its leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to hold the city without a coalition.

Johannesburg is a key test of her flirtation with the black vote.

The next big city battle is Nelson Mandela Bay, a municipality named for the founding father in the ANC’s symbolic heartland.

It does not want to lose the metro, but at the time of writing, a coalition council comprising the DA and Cope was likely.

“Many councils hang in the balance,” Zille said in Khayelitsha yesterday. “These include the major urban centres of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Port Elizabeth.”

Zuma told City Press on Friday that he was “confident” that his party would not only hold its existing metros, but close down the DA in Cape Town.

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