Big battle for the centre

2014-03-09 10:00

This week we report that the governing ANC is in a panic as early polls show that its support in Gauteng is in free fall.

The party does not need polls. President Jacob Zuma has been booed twice in three months in Soweto and when he does appear in the province, it is in carefully choreographed ways.

The president is not popular in a province of the opinionated?–?corruption gets short shrift here and the scandal about the spending on the sprawling presidential estate of Nkandla has harmed the ANC.

The ANC’s fortunes have not been helped by the e-tolling system either. Gauteng is a driver’s province as can be seen from the regular traffic gridlocks.

But while the surveys have alarmed the Gauteng ANC, they are a cause for excitement and help to create a fresh energy to compete rather than a reason for despair and panic.

For the first time, the heartland province will have a genuine competition for its votes?–?there will be increased contestation among the political parties contesting this year’s elections, including the ANC. This is good for democracy.

The polls show that the party could receive less than 50% of the vote, resulting in it either losing the province or being forced into an uncomfortable coalition with one or more of the opposition parties.

The ANC does not want to lose the heartland that is the economic engine of the country. Gauteng, with the highest concentration of the country’s black middle class and its richest citizens, has proved a headache for the governing party in the past few years.

Figures show a substantial number of Gautengers will not vote at all. We hope they don’t do that?–?exercising our vote is precious.

It will be a real pity if such a huge chunk of the population decides not to vote. We hope that Gautengers are “mobilised” to go and exercise this hard-earned right.

A vote is a precious commodity that every party should sweat to gain.

Voters should use the vote to reward efficient service delivery and punish poor governance.

Rather than despair and sulk, we hope every South African gets excited about the power they have to decide who stays in power or who replaces them. It’s time to get interested.

Whatever you do and wherever you live, go and exercise your right to vote.

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