THE CASTING VOTE
The way things stand now, it looks as if the EFF might determine whether the DA or the ANC wins power in Gauteng in the next provincial election
There is much speculation about the scenarios that could play out nationally and in the various provinces come the 2019 elections. But about Gauteng it is possible to be fairly concrete: it is going to be extremely close, and there is a realistic chance that the opposition could win control from the ANC.
The performance of three parties — the ANC, the DA and the
EFF — will be defining. If it comes down to the wire, a bloc of seven smaller parties, individually or collectively, could determine the nature of the final provincial government.
Of these parties, the EFF is perhaps the biggest enigma. While trends over time demonstrate that the ANC is declining in Gauteng and, conversely, that the DA is growing, it is difficult to say exactly how and in which direction the EFF is moving, because it has stood in only one round of national elections. Its final performance in 2019 is likely to be all important.
With regard to the ANC, its support in Gauteng, in absolute numbers, has remained relatively stable. In the four provincial elections since 1999, the number of votes it has secured in each is as follows: 2.48m (1999); 2.33m (2004); 2.66m; (2009) and 2.38m (2014). That is an average of 2.44m votes, and there has been no significant fluctuation (the range has been just 330,892 votes).
It suggests a solid, reliable core support base.
The problem the ANC has is that the voting pool — the number of registered voters — has grown each election (from 4.15m in 1999 to 6.06m in 2014). Thus, as a percentage of that growing pool, its share of the vote has decreased dramatically. In 1999, the ANC’S 2.48m votes represented 59.8% of
What it means: The ANC has been unable to win new support in Gauteng and shows no signs of being able to grow organically
all registered voters in Gauteng. By 2014, its 2.34m votes represented just 38.7% of the total voting pool. Thus its final percentage of the vote has dropped from a high of 67.9% in 1999 to 53.6% in 2014.
The truth is that the ANC has been unable to win new support, particularly among the youth. Its support has stagnated and shows no signs of being able to grow organically.
The DA, by contrast, has gone from strength to strength in Gauteng, both in percentage and in absolute terms. In 1999 it managed 17.97% or 658,231 votes; in 2004 it grew to 20.78% or 708,081 votes; in 2009 it grew again, to 21.86% or 908,616 votes; and, in 2014 it grew most significantly, to 30.78% or 1,349,001 votes.
As a result, its share of the total Gauteng voting population has also grown, from 15.8% in 1999 to
22.2% in 2014. It has, over 15 years, more than doubled its support in absolute terms in the province.
It means the DA benefits from a greater number of new registered voters, as disproportionately more of them are voting DA over time. The DA will pour great energy into ensuring that it takes full advantage of the registration weekends that precede the 2019 election, seeking to maximise the number of new voters it can register. So, much of its potential rests on this.
The EFF, however, is where things start to get more ambiguous. It is not ideal to compare national and local election results sets, but since the party has competed in only one of each, it is necessary. And, within those