The recent Local Government Election has finally pushed South Africa and South Africans into the same two camps that are pervasive in almost every country.
Firstly let’s look at the broader numbers:
ANC = 45.6%
I know that these were Local Government Elections and are meant to be related to issues of service delivery in a very local context; but given the nature of this country, they are merely a proxy for the general mood of South Africans. Let’s also remember that all parties chose to use their party leaders on their campaign billboards, except for the IFP who chose to use its founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Our Local Government Elections are without doubt, merely a mini version of our general elections.
We now have two official camps, the forces of darkness, corruption and failure by the ANC and the EFF, and the forces of progress, modernity and service delivery represented by the rest. This means that the forces of darkness have got 55.9% of the vote and the modernists attract 44.1%. This puts us in line with most advanced democracies including the USA, United Kingdom, India and even other African countries including Zimbabwe and Zambia.
So who stands the best chances of growing in the general elections of 2024?
It is easy to say that the low turnout was as a result of disgruntled ANC voters staying at home and they will be mobilised the next time around. I challenge this thinking. Surely by not voting, these voters are signalling that they are up for grabs? Enter Herman Mashaba.
Many South African voters have been waiting for a black-led, conservative, market friendly, modernist political party. The DA could never win an election because of their white roots. Just like Ian Smith could never win an election in 1980’s Zimbabwe. The DA needs to be collapsed into a bigger modernist movement along the lines of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe which was led by the late Morgan Tsvangarai. Were it not for the illegal actions of Robert Mugabe supported by Thabo Mbeki, the MDC would have come to power in the early 2000s. It would be harder for the ANC to cling to power as they do not have an organised army and/or police force to overturn elections and no “big brother’ in the region who will help them cling to power.
Mashaba’s Action SA only contested a handful of metros and municipalities and managed to do quite well in those voting areas. Many analysts say that Action SA’s performance came at the expense of the DA, but the DA managed to increase it’s percentage from the 2019 General Election in which it polled 20.8%. One can only deduce that the Action SA support must have come from traditional ANC voters, because none of the modernist parties polled lower than they did in 2019.
These elections were disastrous for the forces of darkness. The ANC lost 11.9% of the votes that they polled in 2019. The EFF has lost 0.5% support compared to the General Election of 2019 in which they polled 10.8%.
If the modernist parties are able to improve service delivery in the metros in which they govern, voters will see them as viable alternative to the ANC. This could make the 2024 General Elections very interesting indeed.
State of the Nation 2021