2019 Elections

ANC holds firm in less contested provinces but its support base is shrinking

By Carien Du Plessis 10 May 2019

Results continue to come in at the National Results Operation Center (ROC) in Pretoria, Thursday 9 May 2019. Photo: Leila Dougan

Elections have left the ANC poorer nationally and in Gauteng – and the Western Cape is long since lost – but in the provinces with large rural constituencies, it’s mostly still king. All its%ages are down because some voters strayed, but mostly, those who were unhappy with the party appeared to have stayed away.

In the provinces, elections results centres are emptying out as the vote count wraps up. Slowest to finish are Limpopo – where only about 70% of the votes were counted by noon on Friday, more than a day and a half after the close of the polls – and the Free State, where 28% of the votes were still outstanding.

Trends in provinces reflected national trends with the ANC’s share of the vote down – there are massive service delivery problems in many municipalities, where residents often lack basics like clean water, and infighting and corruption within the ANC remain a problem – while the EFF has gone up. The DA, similarly, appears to have shed votes to the FF Plus, which had a good election overall, gaining seats in legislatures where it wasn’t represented in the past.

Mpumalanga and Limpopo are once again a mainstay for the ANC, and although the party’s days of getting over 80% in these provinces seem to be over, it will still dominate the legislatures there.

Limpopo (with 69% of the votes counted)

Even though 30% of the vote count was still outstanding in Limpopo and this could still present with drastic swings depending on whether these votes are in voting districts in, say, Seshego, where the EFF is strong, or in an ANC area. So far, the ANC garnered 75.5% of the votes in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s home province, down from 78.6% in 2014. The EFF is up by just under four%age points to 14.17%, while the DA dropped from 6.48% to 5.57%. The FF Plus, which wasn’t a factor before, looks set to get a seat or two in the legislature with 1.57%.

Mpumalanga (with 94% of the votes counted)

It looks like this will be the only other province where the ANC will be above the 70% mark (70.27%, down from 78.23% in 2014). The party will, however, in total have shed between 100,000 and 150,000 voters. Some of these were stay away votes, but the EFF looks set to gain more than 50,000 votes in this province (12.92% of the vote, more than that of 2014), many of them presumably from the ANC’s base.

There was much worry about the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA), which was formed in 2014 by former ANC members. Campaigning in the weeks ahead of the election by Deputy President David Mabuza (also former Mpumalanga premier) and Ramaphosa appear to have slashed the BRA’s vote almost in half (from 15 386 to 8 784). It looks unlikely to get a seat in the legislature. The DA has given up its spot as the biggest opposition party to the EFF, dropping from 10.4% in 2014 to 9.83%. The FF Plus looks set to enter the legislature with one seat at 2.44% of the vote.

North West (with 99% of the votes counted)

Fierce infighting after the sacking of premier Supra Mahumapelo last year appears to have cost the ANC close to 150 000 voters, with its share of the vote dropping from 67.39% in 2014 to 61.81%, which is more or less on par with what the party’s provincial task team members said they expected. The EFF gained 32,000 votes in the province, and its%age share jumped from 13.21% in 2014 to 18.62%, which means the North West will be the party’s biggest province in percentage terms.

The DA has suffered losses to the FF Plus, with its percentage share dropping by just over a point from 12.73% in 2014 to 11.22%, and the FF Plus going up from 1.72% to 4.36%. The FF Plus looks set to be doubling its seat count to two, while the DA will remain the same at four seats.

Black First Land First got only 662 votes in the province that is the home of its founder, Andile Mngxitama.

Free State (with 72% of the votes counted)

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule saw his party’s support drop in his home province from 69.85% in 2014 to 62.35% of the vote. The DA remains the biggest opposition party, gaining one%age point from 16.23 to 17.11%, while the FF Plus has doubled its%age from 2.1 in 2014 to just over four%. The EFF has made a gain from 8.15% to 11.76% of the vote. The ATM, which was first conceived of in December 2017 by Twelve Apostles of Christ church head Caesar Nongqunga during a sermon in Bloemfontein, got 0.72% of the vote.

The%ages could still change when the rest of the vote count is done.

Eastern Cape (with 95% of the votes counted)

In Nongqunga’s home province the ATM had its strongest showing with 1.52% of the vote. Over 28 000 people voted for the party here.

The ANC has dropped to below the 70% mark, which this home province of former presidents like Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki maintained till 2014. The ANC looks set to have lost more than 200 000 voters here. The DA could also have lost about 50 000 voters here, with its%age dropping from 16.2% in 2014 to 15.18% in these elections. The UDM is the biggest loser – from 6.16% of the vote to 2.66%. Part of this could be due to losing votes to the ATM, but also possibly because the UDM was perceived as less than clean following the drama in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, where it cooperated with the ANC to unseat DA mayor Athol Trollip last year. UDM mayor Mongameli Bobani replaced him. The DA accused him of being corrupt, and of cooperating with the same allegedly corrupt administration that the UDM tried to clean up in the metro in the first place.

The EFF is also making some inroads into this largely conservative province, more than doubling its share of the vote from 3.48% in 2014 to 7.74%. Founder of the Socialist Workers Revolutionary Party Irvin Jim has again failed to capture the imagination of the masses in his home province, but he did manage to get just under 4,600 actual votes here.

Northern Cape (with almost 100% of the votes counted)

This is one of the four provinces where the ANC’s support had dropped below the 60% mark, to 57.53% of the vote. It used to stand at 64.4% and has lost about 44,000 votes. The DA has gained just over 250 voters, up from 23.89 to 25.53%, while the EFF has doubled its support from 4.96 to 9.58, gaining more than 17 000 voters. The FF Plus is likely to step into the legislature with 2.7% of the vote, but Cope is no longer a factor here, with 0.87% of the vote (3.6% in 2014), and will most likely lose its one seat. Hot on its heels was  Patricia de Lille’s GOOD, with 0.84% of the vote. DM


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