How we think the election will go - Pieter Mulder

FF+ leader says opposition will struggle to break ANC majority in Pretoria and Joburg


If all opposition voters will be going to cast their votes and ANC voters will be staying away from the polls, certain metro councils and a number of local councils can be governed by coalitions formed by opposition parties.

Unrealistic assertions by political parties may hold short term gains for them but will also make opposition voters who are disappointed when the results of the election is made known apathetic in the future.

Of the 283 councils the DA only won seven councils in the 2006 elections and the IFP 33 where the ANC won more than 200 councils. A number of councils have been governed through coalitions between parties.

After this election there will be more coalition governments and voters will start understanding the pro's and con,s of a proportional voters system much better. Coalitions make it possible that smaller parties obtain big influence where they will be playing a decisive role in the elections in certain metro's and municipalities. The FF Plus will in coalitions with other opposition parties play an important role in metro's and councils.

Why coalitions? Because the figures and projections show that apart from perhaps Cape Town, no opposition party will be capable of beating the ANC in any of the large metro's.

For example: In the previous local government election of 2006 no party could gain 50% of the votes in Cape Town. The DA obtained 41%. Due to a coalition between the DA, FF+, ACDP and a number of other smaller parties they succeeded to force the ANC into opposition. Cape Town has 210 councillors and the Speaker has a decisive vote when there is a stale-mate. With the first vote, a FF Plus councillor was elected with 105 to 104 votes as Speaker of the Council. Following this he had a decisive vote where the ANC was kept in opposition. As part of the agreement Ms. Zille was elected Mayor after this.

How fragile this coalition still is after five years is evident from the fact that in Cape Town today (11 May 2010) the DA will hold an emergency caucus meeting in order to have a meeting cancelled during which the budget for the city had to be approved. They want to cancel the meeting because some ID councillors do not support the budget and the DA is scared that they would lose the approval of the budget so close to the elections where Cape Town serves as a model for a DA government.

Where can this pattern be repeated?

Except for Cape Town, opposition voters also have the best opportunity in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Council (Port Elizabeth). In 2009, the ANC obtained 50% of the votes in this metro. The DA obtained 28%. Because it is impossible to grow from 28% to 50% in just two years, cooperation with the FF Plus, Cope and other parties will be necessary to force the ANC into opposition.

It will be more difficult in Johannesburg and Pretoria where the ANC in 2009 obtained 63% and 61% as opposed to the DA's 20,8% and 24,9% respectively. Responsible cooperation between opposition parties may also in these metro's lead to success.

Our research and campaigning show that realism is required when predicting the election results. The current unrealistic predictions result in opposition voters being disappointed after the elections and become anti-political and apathetic.

Example: With the 2009 elections, the DA launched a campaign with the message that they could stop Zuma. When the results came the ANC had obtained 65% and the DA 16% of the votes. It is also noticeable in provinces where the expectations during the previous elections were created that the ANC could be voted out.

Voters were shocked when Cope and not the DA were the official opposition in five of the nine provinces. The result is that there are some voters at present who refuse to vote. They feel they were misled in the previous elections and that there vote will make no difference.

From the past it appears that there are no decisive changes in voting patterns which appear between national and local government elections two years later. Opposition parties usually fare a few percentage points better in local government elections.

A TNS poll which was held in February in metropolitan areas found that 73% of voters will be voting for the same party than they voted for two years ago. The poll also found that people who are upset with their parties largely stay away from the polls rather than voting for other parties.

The research showed that the highest voting percentage could be expected in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and the East Rand. Low percentage turn-outs are to be expected in Soweto, the Vaal-Triangle and the Southern Rand area and East London.

It could indicate that opposition parties will indeed be going to vote in larger numbers while ANC voters will stay away easier.

The DA won the Western Cape on a provincial level in 2009. The tendency should continue. In other provinces the DA results were as follows in 2009: Gauteng 21%; KwaZulu-Natal 9,1%; Northwest 8,2%; Limpopo 3,4%; Mpumalanga 7,4%; Eastern Cape 9,9%; Northern Cape 12,5% and Free State 11,6%. It is these realities that make research show that one single political party alone cannot beat the ANC but coalitions could well do it.

Statement issued by Dr. Pieter Mulder, FF Plus Leader, May 11 2011

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