Parties hit the campaign trail – on the head: ANC

2013-06-09 14:00

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As election fever starts to take hold, City Press previews what the ANC, the DA and Agang are doing to lay claim to those all-important ballots

The Independent Electoral Commission’s machinery has not yet kicked into gear, but political parties are already in campaign mode for next year’s general election, set to take place in May.

This was brought on by the DA’s controversial pre-election campaign, highlighting the party’s struggle past; and by Mamphela Ramphele’s announcement of her newcomer party, Agang, in February.

The ANC had been too preoccupied with preparing for its national elective conference in Mangaung in December last year to effectively campaign, but it went into election mode soon after.

The early election campaigns kicked off as the economy showed signs of going into stagflation, a labour crisis in the mines and yet another scandal rocking Zuma, this time relating to the landing of a plane chartered by the Gupta brothers, who are family friends of Zuma’s, at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April.

In an apparent move to save costs, the ANC will launch its election manifesto during its birthday celebrations on January 8.

For now, the party aims to have its election structures up and running by the end of July, and it will concentrate on getting voters out to the ballot boxes – the only way it can improve its performance in the elections, a source involved in organising the ANC’s elections campaign said.

Experts project that the party’s support could fall below 60% for the first time this year.

The SA Institute of Race Relations found the ANC’s proportion of votes from all eligible voters has dropped from 59.9% in 1994 to 38.7% in 2009, partly because its supporters chose to stay away on polling day.

An “army of volunteers” will run the campaign on the ground in every province and Gauteng has been the first to set this up.

Leaders from ANC regions who attended the party’s election workshop in Boksburg, east of Joburg, last weekend were told that President Jacob Zuma would lead the party’s election campaign.

This despite fears that this could prove costly as some voters might be put off by the scandals – mainly Nkandlagate and Guptagate – that have engulfed him.

Party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa recently revealed that the election strategy would also include:

» Door-to-door campaigns in targeted communities and at least four house visits to each house; and

» Explaining the party’s achievements and the “challenges” to voters.

ANC Youth League national task team spokesperson Bandile Masuku said the league, which is usually responsible for mobilising the youth vote, will meet later this month to talk about its strategy.

» Face of the campaign: Jacob Zuma

» 2009 share of the vote: 65.9%

ANC vs DA: How the vote has changed

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