Why a strong EFF is good for the DA

2016-04-30 18:56

When the EFF's advocate Dali Mpofu spoke at the party’s election manifesto launch,  he said they will win many metros. This is laughable since winning municipal elections depends on winning local support.

The EFF has support but it is spread out across the country in bits and pieces. And they would need it to be concentrated in a particular locality to win a metro. Their support is not concentrated in any particular locality which makes winning a single municipality difficult unless every EFF supporter lived in 1 municipality. They seem to think that ANC supporters will leave the ANC and vote for them. Why? Because of  Nkandlagate? If you have studied the South African electorate you would know that is wishful thinking. Even when people compete with donkeys for water at nearby rivers, they still go out and vote for the same ANC that failed to provide them with a regular supply of clean water.

If ANC supporters are not happy with their party, they would rather stay away from the polls instead of voting for another party with nothing but promises on offer. They did not punish the ANC government for murdering people in Marikana. What is theft to murder? So this Nkandla saga may be a useless campaign tool.

But that does not mean the EFF is not going to do well. It will be the first time they are contesting local government elections apart from by-elections. So this will be their first test. The one major contribution the EFF will add in these elections is the possibility of splitting the ANC support base which may be easier since the ANC gave birth to them. And the DA has struggled there.  Essentially  the EFF will be helping the DA win in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, and Pretoria.

Port Elizabeth presents a perfect case for this. In 2006 the ANC won the Nelson Mandela Bay metro with 66% of the vote. And in 2011 they retained the metro with 51.9%. The DA was hoping to form a coalition government with COPE but the party disappeared and so the ANC won 63 of the 120 seats. Now there is hope that the worst results could lead to a formation of a coalition in the metro since the ANC's 2014 results in the metro showed a slight decline to 48.8%.

The EFF's role in 2016 is to take whatever votes they can get from the ANC and not have a poor showing like COPE. The EFF had a massive rally in Khayelitsha before the 2014 elections but failed to show the same strength at the polls. So the DA will be counting on the EFF to reduce the ANC's majority without posing a threat to DA's support base. And they do not pose a threat to the DA's support base. The DA has remained the only party in South Africa to consistently increase its share of the vote in every election. Considering differences between the DA and the EFF, would be DA voters have no reason to switch to the EFF.

Even a poor showing by EFF benefits the DA somewhat since the local government elections have the first-past-the-post system where a party that gets most votes wins even if its with 30% of total votes cast. Here we have a lot of candidates who share the remaining 70% without getting a seat. This favours the DA and ANC since they have a firmly established support base and are able to get most of their supporters out to vote on election day. Thus EFF becomes just one of the small players. But a special small player with a unique ability to win some support from ANC voters who could never see themselves voting DA.

The major difference between the DA and ANC at the polls is that the DA is able to grow while the ANC cannot grow with KZN being an exception where ANC is able to grow. Even with a poor showing by ANC on the 3rd August, they will retain most of the municipalities they govern. Key areas of interest would be Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria where the ANC has shown weakness in past elections. If the DA does not do well this year, they can close shop and become a regional party. The political environment favours the DA. Especially when considering that another party has been formed by former ANC supporters. The United Front which supposedly represents workers could also aid in reducing the ANC majority if they make strong appeals to workers who would ordinarily vote ANC.

So a lot of candidates on the ballot paper favour the DA as long as they switch on their organisational machinery and get their supporters out. The one thing the DA does not want to happen is to see metros without a clear winner which would require a coalition partner. In any event the EFF is likely to get into bed with the ANC than with the DA. They may pretend to hate the ANC but if forced to choose between the DA and the ANC, choosing the DA would be more disastrous than ANC. The ANC would be their least worst coalition partner. If the EFF chose to form a coalition with the DA, the ANC would make a strong come back in 2019 by pointing out that a vote for the EFF is a vote for the DA. That would cost the EFF a lot of seats in parliament.

And if the EFF chose to form a coalition with the ANC which is likely to happen, they might as well merge because the DA will do the same thing pointing out that a vote for the EFF is a vote for the ANC. Thus a coalition would not favour the EFF regardless of how many deals they can score for their constituency. Some EFF voters would be alienated irrespective of who the coalition partner is. So a stronger EFF is preferred as long as the DA secures an outright majority.

No Julius Malema, your statement that only the ANC and the EFF matter in these elections is a little bit delusional considering that the DA has a record in government wena you govern where? See getting people from KZN, Free State, Mpumalanga, and other provinces on a bus to your rally in Orlando should not fool you into thinking that you have enough supporters to replace the DA as the main opposition party. Wena you must just do your job. Split the ANC's electorate and watch the DA take charge.


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2010-11-21 18:15

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