ATM gets analyst to sit up and take notice after shock Eastern Cape by-election performance

2019-03-30 07:17
Mzwanele Manyi (Netwerk24)

Mzwanele Manyi (Netwerk24)

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At least one of the new kids on the political block can say for certain that it's gaining momentum ahead of the 2019 national elections, which are just six weeks away.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM), which was established in October 2018 and has its roots in the church, garnered 30% of the votes in a by-election on Wednesday in Nyandeni Ward 21- formerly an ANC stronghold.

Now political analyst, Dawie Scholtz, who has been tracking the movement of different political parties ahead of the elections told News24 the small party had caught his attention.

Scholtz said he had little knowledge about the party because it had never participated in any form of elections before.

"It's very impressive. New parties often don't do that well," Scholtz observed.

READ: 'ANC not following God's law amid killing of comrades, factionalism' - former MEC defects to ATM

Scholtz, who said he would take the ATM more seriously going forward, added that the party had been a blind spot for a number of analysts because it had never contested before.

Quoting American actor Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained, Scholtz said: "You had my curiosity. Now you have my attention."

He said the party's performance on Wednesday told a story of how its members were working the ground mobilising communities.

The ATM, which has also been linked to former ANC and South African president Jacob Zuma, made headlines when former media boss Mzwanele Manyi announced that his was walking away from the ANC and joining it.

Manyi previously owned ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.

ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula told News24 he was not shocked by how well his party fared and said he already had his eyes on two upcoming by-elections in Johannesburg, Gauteng and Bergville, in KwaZulu-Natal in April.

"We are confident because the people have done the work on the ground. They wouldn't want to contest if they hadn't done the work," said Zungula.

Zungula said since the ATM's launch, lots of people had been drawn to the party. He said it was the media that had failed to pay attention.

"Everywhere we go, people come to us and express support," he said.

Zungula, like many other political parties, was not bothered with opposition parties but was interested in how well the ATM compared to the ANC.

"Obviously, the EFF and UDM are nowhere to be found. Our closest rival is the ANC," he said.

Read more on:    atm  |  mzwanele manyi
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