Mmusi Maimane at the final DA rally in Soweto. (DA)
The titanic battle for control of Gauteng, the country’s richest province, is too close to call, with the ANC hanging on to its majority by a whisker and the DA’s poor showing nationally continuing at local level.
By late afternoon on Thursday News24’s projection for the province, based on the latest reliable and representative voting numbers, showed:
- ANC: 50,3%
- DA: 27,8%
- EFF: 14%
- Freedom Front Plus: 3,8%
- IFP: 0,8%.
These numbers, with a margin of error of 1%, are not final and the final result is too close to call. It is based on 28% of votes counted.
According to Dawie Scholtz, News24’s election analyst, the ANC is in the ascendancy because of improved turnout in townships, which is up by 1% since the municipal election in 2016.
The DA however has bled support, among both white and black voters.
News24’s numbers show that even though the difference between voter turnout in the suburbs (88%) and townships (66%) is gaping, the DA still managed to shed 8 percentage points from 78% in 2014 to 70% in 2019.
The FF Plus seems to be the beneficiary of the DA’s largesse, firming up its support around 11% of the electorate in Gauteng.
The ANC, under enormous pressure since 2016 when it lost control of Johannesburg and Pretoria, seems to have marginally increased its support in the province, improving from 11.7% to 12%.
If the ANC in Gauteng manages to keep control of the province, it will mean that the party, who were staunch opponents of the corruption-tainted former president Jacob Zuma and were punished for the excesses of state capture in 2016, have managed to largely stem the bleeding.
They lost more than 15 percentage points between 2004 and 2014. If they hold out it means their losses this time around would only be three percentage points.
The DA will be disappointed in their showing. Not only have they shed significant support, but the loss of white voters in the suburbs will be particularly galling, given the resources they invested in the province and the fact that it holds the mayoralties of the metropolitan councils of Tshwane and Pretoria.
The DA increased their support in the province by nine percentage points between 2009 and 2014. Its seems they might drop around four percentage points in 2019.
Some observers believe that the Thuma Mina effect – support for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reformist agenda – seems to have had an impact in the province, as the slight increase in white support for the ANC shows.
Should the ANC fall below 50% - and it remains a possibility - the EFF will again be in pole position.
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