How we'll vote

2014-05-04 15:00

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After one of the most hard-fought elections, the ANC looks set to retain its more than 60% electoral majority in Parliament despite the scandals that have engulfed it under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership.

The latest survey by pollster Ipsos puts the ANC’s electoral support at 63.4% in the case of a moderate voter turnout, the DA’s at 23% and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) at just under 5%.

While the DA is still confident of a good showing in Gauteng and Northern Cape, indications are that it will not dislodge the ANC from power in these provinces. In Western Cape, the ANC’s hope of reversing its losses from the 2009 elections will be dealt a blow as the DA is set to hold on to the only province it governs and increase its dominance.

Voter turnout could also affect the final outcome, with higher turnout favouring the ANC in Gauteng. But nationally, a high voter turnout will favour opposition parties.

The survey was completed at the end of March, before the last lap of campaigning.

Polling by the ANC, as well as surveys by opposition parties and independent pollsters, had pegged the ANC’s support at below 60% at the end of last year. The ANC’s support was also expected to be heavily dented by scandals like the R246?million upgrade to Zuma’s Nkandla home.

The ANC also looks set to keep Gauteng and Northern Cape, which the DA had aimed to win (see page 2).

But DA leader Helen Zille is not giving up yet, saying if every one of her party’s voters turns out on Wednesday, ANC support in Gauteng and Northern Cape could fall to under 50%.

After the 2009 general elections and the 2011 municipal elections, the DA announced a 30% target and a win in two more provinces. But DA leader Helen Zille has downplayed this target, saying it was never meant to be disclosed publicly.

But she added the party was well on its way towards it – getting almost 24% of the overall vote in the 2011 local elections – “until a rash of new parties came up”.

“It happens before every election. It happened in 1999 when the UDM started with Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer, and everyone said: ‘Oh here’s this new party, black leader, white leader, they’ll be able to do wonderful things and create wonderful outcomes.’

“And then before 2004, Patricia de Lille arrived on the scene and there was massive euphoria about that.

“And then in 2009, Cope [Congress of the People] came on to the scene and there was massive euphoria about that, and now before this election, there is the EFF and Agang,” said Zille.

“It is wrong to believe these parties take votes away from the ANC. They mostly thrive on opposition votes because opposition votes are in essence more fluid.”

According to Ipsos, the ANC will also win in Mpumalanga with 73%, Limpopo with 82%, North West with 78%, Eastern Cape with 70%, Free State with 62%, KwaZulu-Natal with 73% and Northern Cape with 62%. It will retain Gauteng with a 58% majority.

The DA will win in Western Cape with 65%.

New kid on the block EFF will get 4.7% overall. Cope, which exploded on to the scene in 2009 with 7.3%, will plunge to 1.2%.

The IFP will get 1.9%, which is substantially lower than the 4.5% it won in 2009. The elections could signal the end for liberation parties Azapo and the PAC.

Wednesday’s elections are also likely to confirm that 20 years since the end of apartheid, voting continues to happen along racial lines. There is, however, a slight shift in identity voting patterns.

The Ipsos figures show the DA is likely to increase its share of black voters to 14%, while the ANC will increase its share of white voters to 5%.

Shan Balton, the executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said it was encouraging that the three main parties had emphasised nonracialism in their manifestos.

He said this election would result in the erosion of parties that contest elections on the “minority vote”.

Balton also said parties needed to put more effort into reaching beyond their traditional support base, suggesting they had not done enough work on that score between elections.

ANC elections head Malusi Gigaba said his party was worried about its inability to appeal to white voters despite the fact that all the major research indicated that whites had benefited from its policies over the past 20 years.

He said the white middle and upper class’ share of the national income had increased since 1994, and it was instead the black working class that should be displaying a “greater sense of grievance”.

EFF leader Julius Malema said his party did not specifically tailor its message to white voters, but communicated the same message to all.

“We are not interested in colour fronting. That is racist. You don’t tell people what they want to hear,” said Malema.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the ANC would win “decisively”. She added: “It will be above 60%.”

Duarte insisted the ANC had broken racial voting patterns “quite a bit”.

“The reception in KwaZulu-Natal’s formerly Indian areas, as well as in Ennerdale and Eldos [Eldorado Park] in Gauteng, has been much better.

“One of the saddest challenges we have to acknowledge and face is that white South Africans, in the main, only vote for parties led by a white person.

“We need to delve into the heartbeat of this phenomenon,” she said.

Zille said her party had become more diverse.

“Our elections lists are more diverse than ever before – some say we have gone too fast and others say we have gone too slow. I have to manage a complex set of challenges.

“We do the most to spot really good talent and promote it. In the ANC, young leaders will wait four decades to get there,” she said.

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