AT 7am today 4 669 voting stations in 715 wards will open across the Eastern Cape for 12 hours of voting in what many say are the most hotly contested elections since 1994. In Nelson Mandela Bay a total of 19 parties will be contesting in the elections. Only seven of these will be contesting in all 60 wards of the metro. And while all eyes are on the big battle between current executive mayor Danny Jordaan, of the ANC, and the DA’s mayoral candidate Athol Trollip, some experts say, that with the support for the ANC and DA being very close in the Bay, the battle could be very dependent on which way the undecided voters decide to cast their vote, if at all. With a weather forecast of a 60% chance of rain for today, voter turnout could also have a huge impact on the final result. The latest Ipsos poll by the eNCA television channel issued last week, indicated that support for the DA in Nelson Mandela Bay had grown by 2 per cent to 44%, while support for the ANC had also grown by two percentage points to 30%. Support for the EFF was stable at 6%. The ANC, however, had the biggest negative sentiment (50%), followed by the EFF (43%), while the DA had the best positive sentiment (60%). According to the poll it is expected that around 90% of the registered voters will be voting. The Ipsos poll comprises 2 500 people in the metro of whom 500 are phoned weekly for a 5-minute interview. And while both the DA and ANC have pulled out all the stops bringing the big cannon in for the battle of the Bay, the smaller parties are also confident that they will be able to win at least 70% of the seats. Mongameli Bobani of the UDM is confident that he will be the next mayor of the metro and that his party will win 70% of the metro council’s 120 seats. “We are going to win and the ANC will have to share with the DA,” said Bobani. The United Front of the Eastern Cape (UFEC) is also convinced that they will have good results in the election. Mkhuseli Mtsila, UFEC spokesperson, said their target is 30 seats. “We are aiming at 30 seats; 15 ward councillors and 15 councillors on the proportional list. Prof. Joleen Steyn-Kotze, political analyst of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, told Llewellyn Prince of Die Burger, that it will be about the bread and butter issues for voters and that the undecided voters could be a determining factor in the metro which has in the past years been in an administrative crisis and where factionalism in the ANC has impeded service delivery. She said the high unemployment rate, lack of housing and high crime rate will also play a major role in how voters will vote. Steyn-Kotze said that Danny Jordaan has in the past year “tried to put a clean administration in place”. “The question is, however, if this is enough to win back the trust of alienated ANC voters and to win over new voters for the ANC,” said Steyn-Kotze.According to Steyn-Kotze, the DA has conducted an aggressive campaign from day one. “The question is whether the DA will be able to pull support from the traditional ANC support base. Who are Danny and Athol?But who are the two central figures in the battle for Nelson Mandela Bay?Athol Trollip (52) was the sixth generation of the Trollip family who farmed on the family farm Mount Prospect outside of Bedford.He entered the world of politics in 1995 for the first time.Trollip, who grew up on the back of a Xhosa woman and who started speaking Xhosa and English at the same time, was chosen for the Amathole District Municipality in 1995.He was elected in 1999 as the Democratic Alliance’s provincial chairperson and joined the Eastern Cape legislature a year later.In 2002 he was chosen as the provincial leader and after 10 years in the legislature, he was elected as a member of parliament.He became the party’s leader in parliament and in 2012 lost this position to Lindiwe Mazibuko.In 2013 he returned to the party in the Eastern Cape and worked for the DA in their successful 2014 elections.Danny Jordaan (64), the ANC’s mayoral candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay, comes from a poor family who had to make use of the bucket system. He experienced two forced removals due to the Group Areas Act.The Fifa boss is one of seven sons and was born in North End. The family was later forced to move to Korsten and then to Bethelsdorp where there was no electricity or sanitation in their home.After completing matric, Jordaan attended the University of the Western Cape where he, in the early 1970s, joined the South African Students’ Organisation (Saso) – an organisation which was started by Steve Biko. He then got involved in anti-apartheid activities.Jordaan also became a member of the United Democratic Front and after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 he became chairman of the ANC in the Bay’s northern areas.After the elections in 1994 he was elected as a member of parliament, a position he held until 1997.After completing his studies, he returned to Port Elizabeth and worked as teacher at the Arcadia Secondary School. Thereafter he worked at Dower College for 20 years.