2021 LOCAL ELECTIONS: CAPE METRO
DA’s final chance to energise voters pushes anti-ANC campaign message in Cape Town
On Friday the Democratic Alliance was out in Elsies River in the party’s Cape Town stronghold for its final rally, reminding voters of the ANC’s failures and urging them to vote for the DA instead.
The day before South Africans cast their special vote, the DA held its final rally in Elsies River where voters were urged to keep the ANC out of the metro.
Election day is “about keeping out a party that leaves destruction in its wake”, said John Steenhuisen, the DA national leader, at the Cravenby Civic Hall in ward 25. “[After 1 November] you’re going to wake up to either one of two municipalities: a DA-run municipality or an ANC-run municipality. The ANC has two types of governments: ones that failed and ones that are about to fail,” said Steenhuisen.
The hall was packed with hundreds of people in blue DA shirts and blue masks, with little sign of physical distancing. Blue balloons were hung from the ceiling and blue lights decorated the stage.
“Everything the ANC touches turns into corruption, everything the ANC touches turns into unemployment. You can’t trust the ANC,” Steenhuisen told about 300 people in the hall, who were not keeping their distance. The number though was well below the maximum allowed indoors.
As to why voters should vote for the DA, Steenhuisen said it was because “[mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis] has imagined a Cape Town that is insulated from the mess in Pretoria. Our duty is not to Pretoria or Rama-promises, it’s to you”.
“Now is not the time to watch other parties make this about anything other than service delivery. Now is not the time to try something new and untested,” said Steenhuisen.
With the lights in the hall off because of load shedding and only the blue stage lights on because of a generator, Hill-Lewis urged residents to vote for the DA because its municipality would fight to keep the lights on.
The City of Cape Town keeps load shedding one stage behind the rest of the country, said Hill-Lewis. “We won’t let Cape Town live in the dark ages where there’s no electricity. Monday is going to be a historic day for Cape Town. We’re going to start writing our next chapter and that chapter is about doing more and securing the future,” he said.
In the 2016 local government elections, the DA won 89% of the vote in ward 25, while the ANC got 5% of the vote.
“How do you vote for a party that can’t keep the lights on?” asked Albert Fritz, the Western Cape MEC of Community Safety. “They’re [the ANC] a bloody joke.”
Fritz then chanted “down with the ANC” and “down with the small parties”.
Other DA leaders who were present included Western Cape Premier Alan Winde; Siviwe Gwarube, the DA spokesperson; Beverley van Reenen, the ward 25 councillor; and Dan Plato, the mayor of Cape Town.
“Newspapers have listed the best-run municipalities and it’s no surprise that the majority of them were in the Western Cape. Among the 10 best run municipalities, eight were found in the Western Cape,” said Plato. “If you don’t vote for the best, you’ll have to settle for second best.”
As to whether the anti-ANC messaging will be effective, Wayne Sussman, an elections analyst, said the DA has run a solid campaign in the Western Cape, particularly in Cape Town, which “probably puts them in a stronger position now than at the start of their campaign”.
The DA urging voters to keep the ANC out of Cape Town “is them trying to energise their base and leave nothing to chance,” said Sussman.
Last month, Business Day reported that internal polling for both the DA and ANC, which aren’t publicly available, indicated the parties would lose support in the upcoming election. In the previous local government election, the DA won Cape Town with a 60% share of the vote. The party’s internal poll indicated that it could get about 53% of the vote, reported the newspaper.
Rainfall is also forecast in Cape Town on Monday, which could affect voter turnout. Commenting on this, Sussman said that: “It boils down to who has the most enthusiastic and committed voters”.
Both the EFF and the ANC began to wrap up their final campaigning in Gauteng – the EFF in Katlehong and the ANC’s Siyangqoba rally in Thokoza Park, Soweto on Friday. Special Votes got under way on Saturday, with many party leaders casting their votes. Party activities continued over the weekend, with the ANC holding community meetings and rallies in areas that include the Midrand and Tshwane. The DA planned a number of events that included Battle Bus tours and walkabouts in key metro areas. DM
This article was updated on Saturday 30 October 2021 to note that some campaigning continued through the weekend, as Special Votes were cast.
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