No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
Mostly cloudy. Cool.
Max du Preez
So the wide-ranging (and feared, in some
quarters) radicalisation of the electorate so many people have warned about
over the last year or two wasn’t reflected in the local government election
We should now raise suspicions that the
militant populists, radical students and the wild voices on Twitter and
Facebook we have heard recently do not represent a groundswell. That’s good
news for stability, although we shouldn’t make the mistake of ignoring the
really angry voices completely – especially those who didn’t vote.
We South Africans should be very proud that
we have held 10 mostly peaceful and credible general and local elections since
But last week’s local election is very
different from all the others. Words like “watershed” and “fundamental shift”
come to mind. For the first time since we became a democracy we can say for
certain that the political landscape would never be the same. The
post-post-apartheid era has started; liberation movement politics are so 2007.
It is fair to say (fair, not popular) that
DA leader Mmusi Maimane has emerged from this election as a genuine national
role player and his party as a substantial political force.
President Jacob Zuma and other ANC and EFF
politicians’ insults that Maimane was simply a black front for a white party and
a stooge have boomeranged badly. It is a good sign that many voters didn’t take
this kind of racial insult seriously.
The final analysis still has to be made,
but it does appear that the DA could have received a million or so votes from
black South Africans and a good majority of so-called coloured and Indian
Only 8.4% of South Africans are white (8.8%
“coloured” and 2.5% Indian) and yet the DA received just short of 27% of the
vote. This does appear to point to growing black support and not only in the
Stepping out from Zille's shadow
Maimane himself pointed out some examples
of DA growth in black township areas: Umzimvubu Ward 23 from 1% in 2011 to 45% now, in Ntabankulu Ward 4 from
0.2% to 45.3% and Tshwane Ward 38 in Mamelodi from 7% to 30.6%.
The fact that the DA increased its support
to more than 66% in Cape Town must surely be an indication that, contrary to
the charges by the ANC and EFF, most residents are rather satisfied with the
way that metropole has been run since 2011.
Maimane has now finally stepped out from
the shadow of his predecessor, Helen Zille, and the powerful white male leaders
of the DA. A Maimane confidente tells me: “He’s his own man, dammit, and
they’re beginning to fully comprehend that.”
The DA didn’t reach its target of 30% of
the vote, but with its new gains it does have real potential to help
politically integrate the white community with the rest of South African
society and perhaps breathe new life in the rather unpopular concept of
But the DA will in the months and years
ahead have to make sure that its leadership structures reflect its new support
– and it will have to prepare itself that it may shed some of its more
conservative white followers in the years ahead.
The EFF has dominated the media since 2014
– in fact it can be said it dominated Parliament and the general political
scene. Julius Malema said before last week’s poll that the EFF had trebled its
support every year of its three-year existence.
And yet it could only increase the 6.3% it
received in 2014 to 8.2%. It’s not even certain that it received many more
disgruntled ANC votes than the DA had.
The EFF has strong growth potential and has
earned its place in the political theatre, but the media will have to do
serious introspection on its overly generous publicity given to a party with
less than 10% of the vote.
Voters turning backs on the ANC
If the radicalisation of the electorate had
been as significant as we have been warned and as we deduced from the EFF’s
confrontational style and the vocal student protests, the EFF would have done
The growing schism between rural and urban
support for the ANC has now finally manifested very clearly as many of Zuma’s
“clever blacks” turned their backs on the party or didn’t vote.
The same happened with Zanu-PF and Robert
Mugabe, but there’s a big difference: South Africa is two-thirds urbanised and
Zimbabwe only one third.
Zuma’s only solid support came from the
Premier league provinces, the Free State, Northwest and Mpumalanga. That’s not
enough to survive forlong in a democracy such as ours.
(Zuma even lost the election in his own backyard of Nkandla.)
A Zuma successor could possibly win over
most of his rural support, but Zuma can never regain the support of the
majority of urban black South Africans.
I hear whispers of secret Zuma-exit
meetings and I hope for the sake of the country – and the ANC – that these
strategies will be successful in the next few months.
Hey comrades, if you’re concerned about
your future rather than just your next pay cheque, jump ship now or go down
with Number One.
- Follow Max on Twitter.Disclaimer:News24
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