Election a blow for small parties?

2011-05-20 09:06

Pretoria - As the final results of the local government election were being tallied the ANC, DA, Cope and the recently formed National Freedom Party were patting themselves on the back and celebrating their victories for the most part.

But while the leaders of these four parties had reason to smile, many others did not. And in some instances their poor performance was so dramatic that the DA’s parliamentary leader Athol Trollip predicted the demise of the smaller parties.

He predicted that the 2011 election would be the last election for smaller parties.

"This election will spell the end of smaller parties and it is now clear that the race in future will be between the ANC and DA with Cope in a distant third."

In the last municipal elections in 2006, the ANC walked away with 64.8% of the vote, the DA with 16 and the IFP with 7.6.

In 2000, the ANC garnered 59% of the local vote, the DA 22 and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) nine.

With some 10% of the ballots still to be tallied, the IFP had garnered 1.2 million votes or four percent of the total votes cast.

The party’s former national chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who broke away only three months ago after a leadership squabble with IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was sure to be all smiles after her fledgling National Freedom Party picked up some 780 813 votes, or 2.59% of the total.

But several parties such as the Freedom Front Plus looked to see their share of the vote fall dramatically.

In the 2006 local government elections the Freedom Front Plus secured one percent of the ballot with 252 253, but its support appeared to have plummeted by half with 0.48% of the vote in 2011.

The UDM’s fortunes had also appeared to nosedive with 0.74% of the vote compared to 1.3% in 2006.

The Pan Africanist Congress and the ACDP also saw a decline in their fortunes from 1.3 and 1.1% in 2006 to 0.43% and 0.59% respectively.

The UCDP that was founded by Lucas Mangope, the president of the former Bophuthatswana homeland took 0.7% of the vote in 2006. But in this election with almost 90% of the ballots counted, it appeared that the party would battle to get 0.2% of the vote.

But while their demise has been predicted, a number have said that the DA’s growth has come at their expense and not that of the ANC.

KwaZulu-Natal ACDP leader Jo-Ann Downs ruled out that the ACDP would be history. She said the problem her party faced was that it had no strongholds and its support was widely spread, which did not favour the party in local government elections.

She admitted that the party had not performed to expectations.

"We see it as a temporary setback. We are passionate about what we do." She said expectations that the demise of smaller parties and the establishment of a two-party dominance "only hurts democracy".

She said the biggest problem was that there had been no real increase in the opposition to the ANC.

This sentiment was echoed by the deputy leader of the Freedom Front Plus in Gauteng. Dr Conrad Beyers said the challenge was for parties with like minded values to come together.

He said the DA had secured its position by taking votes from other opposition parties without making inroads into the ANC’s traditional strongholds.

"We think this is bad for opposition politics."

The UCDP’s deputy president Sipho Mfundisi conceded that his party had performed badly, but that this had been as a result of infighting rather than there being no place for minority parties.

"We have not performed as we should have, but this is not the end of our party. With better leadership we still believe we can go it alone."

  • j4truth - 2011-05-20 09:24

    I am a ACDP supporter and have long realised that without a clear UNITED coalition of opposition there is zero future for small parties. Small parties wont listen, so it is sad to see!

      Enough! - 2011-05-20 12:41

      Was also ACDP supporter but here in Cape Town they really messed up and now DA all the way!

  • Fulufhelo - 2011-05-20 09:26

    well done Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi for what she has done it shows that woman are coming into power IFP its about to be called an political ancestor because the president lead as dictator, presidency is not a kingship so ur not born to be president of IFP ur were born to be the king give other chance may they would come up with something

  • Snymenski - 2011-05-20 09:41

    It is about time that smaller parties realise that they are merely a voice in the wilderneess and insignificant. They need to form a creditable like minded opposition party if they are ever to form any real opposition to the ANC. All they are doing is using Apartheid style politics of divide and rule. And in this case it is working in favour of the ANC because instead of combining their efforts they are becomming more divisive and spreading their resources which is up the ANC's alley.

  • brutalbanana - 2011-05-20 10:21

    I do not agree with calls to unite all opposition party's. Firstly because in terms of party manifesto's the DA shares far more principles with the ANC than they do with the ACDP or FF+. So other than service delivery what is the difference in terms of values we are then voting for? And secondly representative democracy is about selecting someone who matches the closest to your values and beliefs to represent your voice in parliament. So christians and conservatives who do not share the DA's liberal and pro BEE agenda, should we simply vote for them because they want more votes? If they start making MASSIVE inroads into ANC support and get around 35/40% of national votes I am sure then others like me will consider helping them tip over to majority support but voting for a 16% party so they can reach 18% is not a reason to vote. ANC supporters vote illogically and without real thought but that seems to be what is happening with DA supporters too. Real opposition is standing against what the ANC stands for and that does not include toi toi dancing, pro BEE, name change policies such as the DA supports. And lastly the point is in fact moot because the small opposition party's always support the DA in coalitions NOT the ANC. So as long as votes as placed against the ANC, it does not make a real difference except feed the DA's ego.

      LloydSix - 2011-05-20 10:47

      The point is that they are never going to get to "around 35/40% of national votes" if we all vote for these smaller parties. I everyone who didn't vote ANC voted DA the DA would have around 37% of votes (as the ANC currently have 63%)

      j4truth - 2011-05-20 11:48

      The suggestion is not to unite. It is that small parties can keep their particular brand of influence and merely have a open public (not secretive) coalition together with opposition. EG: I vote ACDP because I am a full-on Christian follower of Jesus Christ. I cannot vote for, lets say DA, because they support abortion. But if I was accomodated in ACDP and they had a open coalition agreement with DA - then I am being facilitated in the political Arena! But if not I am marginalized and my vote has no value. I understand why folks vote FF, its for the same reasons. But why cant politicians see the big picture instead of their own EGO's!

  • Andrew - 2011-05-20 10:28

    I would encourage the smaller parties to struggle on. SA might be in reality a two party state, but our country is rich in diversity and the more we tolerate and accept smaller voices the longer a deeper our democracy will last. the to those will unique opinions and points of view!! You guys add flavour to the SA breyani.

  • terry - 2011-05-20 10:32

    Most of these smaller parties on based on one person's ego and a fax machine. They have zero impact anywhere. If they want to make a difference, these smaller one-person parties need to align themselves with one of the bigger players, and put their time and effort there.

      Andrew - 2011-05-20 10:42

      The green party in Germany started out as small group with a fax machine and now they hold the key to power in the German coalitional context. The ego's will fall aside but the causes/ policies that count are important should have there own identity.

  • LloydSix - 2011-05-20 10:49

    We need parties that will steal votes form the ANC, it's a shame that COPE is so unorganised with all the infighting and so on. Parties like the FF+, ACDP, etc. are useless.

      stephen scott - 2011-05-20 14:46

      I agree, it's a shame they never got their act together,

  • NZdreamer - 2011-05-20 12:15

    Good grief, thought it said 'Erection a blow for small parties' But, I do agree with j4truth!!

      stephen scott - 2011-05-20 14:45

      excellent haaaha

  • EricJohnSavage - 2011-05-20 12:22

    As with all competition, the new environment will require parties like the ACDP to innovate. In that light, this is a good opportunity.

  • Pat - 2011-05-20 14:21

    1994 Nats – 20,4 percent - 2011 DA – 22, 4 percent – 3000 ANC kaput? ROLL ON THE AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE (ADA) The 2011 municipal elections are over and the soothsayers are sounding, the DA’s parliamentary leader Anthony Trollip, has confidently predicted the demise of the smaller parties. "This election will spell the end of smaller parties and it is now clear, that the race in future will be between the ANC and DA, with the Cope in a distant third place.” The shrewder political analysts see a different role for Cope, as not just an ineffectual “distant third” but a vibrant partner to the DA, in a truly African party named the AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE (ADA). Helen Zille opted to play the 1994 De Klerk race card in the Cape, so after seventeen years of opposition the support remains static at around 20 percent, like her predecessor Zille is incapable of attracting black voters. Outside of Cape Town the DA failed to win any major city, so if the DA aspire to a national role they need the Cope, whose support is spread throughout the provinces so Cope could provide a national footprint, while Helen would do well to pay her respects to Zanele Magwaza-Msibi of the National Freedom Party. I wouldn’t bother looking at any other party, the determinedly ethnic parties like Zulu Inkatha and the Afrikaner Freedom Front, have both gone backwards which is the death knell in politics.

  • nn.prv - 2011-05-20 15:03

    How can we have 100 plus ooposition parties in SA? its all fueled by the power hungry individuals who are in no way caring about the masses.Its gonna be the same trend for years if they do not unite. the ANC looks and just smiles..

  • BTRX - 2011-05-20 15:27

    If I had to vote with my heart I would have voted for the FF, but I also know that their has to be a strong opposition for the ANC and their pathetic control over the country and therefor decided on the DA. Their is still a lot of stuff that I do not agree with the DA, but at least I think with strong women like Patricia de Lille and Helen Zille it is a stride in the right direction.

  • Mabhulwana - 2011-05-20 17:36

    We need more of these smallernyana parties. The moe the merrier. It makes our country attractive and unique. The ANC is already called a broad church. So if these other parties come together what will it be called?

  • John Paul - 2011-05-20 18:36

    I am an ACDP supportter, and stay 1 because: 1- It is a Biblical party. 2- It is against Abortion, which the DA and ANC voted for. 3- It is against legal /state recognition for samesexuals, which the DA and ANC voted for. 4- It is for the Death Penalty to be re-instated, which the DA and ANC abolished. 5- The only difference between the DA and ANC is the recognition of private property. So do I, I also recognize private property. 6- I have shared more ideas about growing the SA economy than the Da and ANC together. 7- For material progess we need progress in moral values that come from spiritual values. Not from killing the innocent and giving life to the guilty.

  • Loubser Toerien - 2011-05-21 07:22

    Our Ballot paper is a joke. The amount of time/money wasted on printing that, which YOU pay for, because of a plethora of parties who should not even be on there, is truly ridiculous. Yes! we are all for democracy, but let's also be sensible!!!

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