D-day for power battle

2011-05-18 07:03

Today is D-day for the ANC and the DA in their bruising battle for the control of some of South Africa’s powerful metros.

The ANC has gone all out in its bid to reclaim the City of Cape Town from the DA.

On the other hand, the DA’s campaign has primarily focused on dethroning the ANC in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. According to DA pollsters, the race is too close to call in the three ANC-controlled metros.

So it is poised to do go down to the wire.“We could see a change in government in many towns and cities across the country.

These include the major urban centres of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay,” says DA leader Helen Zille today.

Zille says her party stands a good chance of winning the majority in Cape Town, a metro which the DA governs through a coalition with smaller parties.But the ANC is confident of retaining control of all its five metros (Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay).

The ANC is also gunning for the DA-controlled Midvaal municipality in Gauteng.

The Midvaal race is also very tight. The ANC claims it will win eight of the 14 wards in Midvaal. The DA claims it is guaranteed seven wards.

Cape Town is the only metro which is governed by the opposition. President Jacob Zuma is on record saying the ANC will win an outright majority in the Cape. His deputy Kgalema Motlanthe doesn’t agree.

He said Cape Town was out of reach for the ANC.The latest Markinor poll suggests that the ANC and the DA will get 62% and 26% respectively.

The ANC got 67.71% in the last local government elections held in 2006. The DA came second with 13.92%.

According to this poll, the ANC is set to experience a 5.71% decrease compared to the DA’s 12.08% increase.

This is how the two parties fared in metros in the last local elections: Johannesburg: ANC 62.32%, DA 27.01%;Tshwane:ANC 56.44%, DA 30.62%;Nelson Mandela Bay: ANC 66.53%, DA 24.39%;Cape Town:ANC 37.76%, DA 41.96%;eThekwini: ANC 57.64%, DA 16.47%; and Ekurhuleni: ANC 61.34%, DA 25.80%.There will be two additional metros (Buffalo City and Mangaung) after tomorrow.

Both parties have been hard at work convincing the electorate to vote for them.In an unprecedented election campaign for the DA, Zille spent most of her time visiting black communities in informal settlements and townships all over the country.

Hence the DA expects to make historic gains in black areas.She has used the “successful” story of Cape Town and other DA-run municipalities as examples to woo voters.

She has invoked the names of liberation icons such as Nelson Mandela and Chris Hani on her mission to rid the DA of the stigma of being a “party for whites”.

The ANC’s campaign saw the party deploying its heavyweights in all provinces, the Western Cape being the primary focus.But the ANC’s main weapons have been President Jacob Zuma and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Malema has been unleashed on Zille, sarcastically calling her a “madam” and saying the DA is for “whites only”.

Zuma has crisscrossed the country using his charm to tell voters to remain loyal to the ANC.Delivering his speech at the Siyanqoba rally at FNB stadium on Sunday, he urged more than 90 000 ANC supporters to not forget how apartheid treated black people.

Zille has slammed the ANC for using the race card in its election campaign.

She said the ruling party’s objective was to draw attention away from service delivery issues by perpetually portraying the DA as a racist organisation.

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