Most businesses and investors are hoping for a categorical ANC victory to give the country the certainty it needs to move forward, says Dirk Kotzé, a Professor in Political Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Talking to Investec FOCUS Radio in a podcast hosted by Investec for Intermediaries, Kotzé said: “I think most people want to see a strong ANC with a clear majority, so they don’t have to work with coalitions. There should not be any questions about who’s the government, who’s the decision maker and who are the policy makers.”
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Kotzé says this will give the go-ahead for the ANC to start to implement their policies and take the difficult decisions that need to be made around fiscal policy, SEOs specifically ESKOM and land.
On the latter issue, Kotzé says the ANC will need to move quickly after elections to provide clarity on their land policy to quell attacks from the opposition. “Then it’s no longer a question about whether they have a mandate or not, but rather about how to implement it.”
Election will mark a “transition” for parties
“I think this election is, for many parties, is actually a type of a transition. For the ANC, it’s the post-Zuma era. For the DA, it’s about how Mmusi Maimane’s leadership is affecting changes within the DA, and the way in which the DA is trying to move away from a mainly Western Cape power base.”
For the EFF, it’s important that they grow their reach: “The EFF needs to expand beyond Gauteng, because in a sense they are over concentrated and need to develop more of a national presence,” says Kotzé. The party is also defined by the land issue and this election will show whether voters will give them the mandate or not.
The two hot button issues that will swing the vote
The economy and the quality of governance will be top of mind for voters at the polls, says Kotzé who explains that it’s not corruption itself that will influence voters, but the impact it’s had on robbing people of housing, infrastructure and local service delivery.
Kotzé highlighted three demographic and regional hurdles that all parties will face in this election:
1. The poor youth turnout
With the youth constituting the majority of the South African population, Kotze says that it’s worrying that for this election, only 18% of all eligible voters in the 18-20 age category had registered to vote.
2. Urban support base
Two thirds of the population now live in urban areas – good news for parties like the DA that are stronger in the cities, but a potential issue for parties like the EFF and the ANC who get the rural vote.
3. The battle for Gauteng
“Gauteng is the province that contributes the most votes to the DA, the EFF and the Freedom Front Plus, and the second most votes to the ANC. So Gauteng is a concentration point,” says Kotzé.
One of the revelations that will be revealed by the election results if whether Ramaphosa can bring ANC support back towards the 60% mark.
“What is clear, from several opinion polls, is that he is actually more popular than the ANC. But the downside of this situation is that the voters are not going to vote for him, individually, it’s a parliamentary election,” explains Kotzé.
“His mere presence can play a role though. Some people, even non-ANC supporters will see him as the person to lead South Africa out of the current situation.”
“The election is not going to clarify policy uncertainties, the clarification will come afterwards,” concludes Kotzé.
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About the author
Lead digital content producer
Ingrid Booth is a consumer magazine journalist who made the successful transition to corporate PR and back into digital publishing. As part of Investec's Brand Centre digital content team, her role entails coordinating and producing multi-media content from across the Group for Investec's publishing platform, Focus.