Elections 2019

Malema dismisses predictor polls, but says the EFF will be happy with 8.31%

By Ferial Haffajee 23 January 2019

Julius Malema speaks to journalists during a press conference in Cape Town, 4 December 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan / Daily Maverick

EFF President Julius Malema has dismissed election predictor polls which show that the party would get 9% or less in a national election but in the same breath, he said the party would be happy to maintain its support.

The party achieved 8.31% support in the local government election of 2015, only two years after it was established in 2013.

In January, the Ipsos poll of voting intentions showed that while EFF support had grown since the last poll, the party’s electoral support is still stuck below double-digit support. It stands at 9%, nationally.

Late last year, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on several platforms that the start-up party with a massive media presence would emerge as the majority party after the 2019 election, which is likely to be held early in May.

In addition to the Ipsos poll, an opinion poll by the Institute for Race Relations found that EFF support and popularity had slowed and declined from its inaugural poll finding of 13% to between 10% and 11%, dependent on voter turn-out.

At a press briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Malema dismissed the polls. “(These are the) same people (the pollsters) who said the EFF will get 1% and that the highest we would go is 4%. Why should I believe them now? I have not lost a single vote – if I get one vote extra, I would have done what we were elected to do,” said Malema, adding that the party would launch its manifesto on 1 February at a gala dinner in Pretoria and the next day at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve.

The party won 6.35% of the national poll in 2014 and then grew its support substantially by the local government election the next year when it became king-maker, allowing it to call the shots in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metropolitan governments.

The only loss for the EFF in the coming election is to go below where we are now.

We are growing faster than any other political party,” said Malema.

The red-beret-in-chief added: “We don’t think research is relevant in these political issues. The reception on the ground is overwhelming. (In) Shops, hospitals, factories…”.

The EFF is vying for young voters, but this voter pool has low voter registration numbers. The IEC hopes to boost the registration of young and first-time voters at the final voter registration weekend on 26 and 27 January.

The party has also thrown its support behind a South African led bail-out of struggling neighbour Zimbabwe. Malema said that the party wanted the government to give President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government a contingent loan to stave off that country seeking support from the IMF and the World Bank.

The EFF has slammed the Zimbabwean government’s repressive tactics which saw protesters feel the strong arm of security forces amid an Internet shutdown. DM

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