ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS
KZN ANC rejects poll suggesting loss to IFP-DA coalition next year
Despite the release of a poll suggesting that an IFP-DA coalition will win more votes than the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in next year’s general election, the party’s provincial leader maintains the party is ‘unstoppable’.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader Sboniso Duma says there is no way his party will lose the province to a coalition between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Democratic Alliance (DA) in next year’s election.
Duma was speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s 2019 provincial election manifesto review at Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday, which was packed to capacity.
A poll conducted by the Social Research Foundation (SRF) found that the ruling party could lose the province in the 2024 general election to an IFP-DA coalition. The SRF’s website says it was founded in 2021, the same year its chairperson, Dr Frans Cronje, left the Institute of Race Relations.
After polling 2,434 voters, the SRF predicted that the ANC would win 40% of the vote if voter turnout was 66% and would do even worse if the turnout dropped below 50%. In the 2019 elections, voter turnout in the province was 66.15%. In the 2021 local government elections, turnout was only 48.2%.
The poll suggested that with a 66% turnout the IFP will win 26% and the DA 18%, meaning the two parties, who are already working together in multiple coalitions across the country, will have a combined 44% of the vote, as opposed to the ANC’s 40%.
Next year’s general election will mark 30 years since the first multiracial elections that allowed South Africa to transcend from apartheid to a democratic state, albeit with many challenges, including regular electricity outages, a stagnant economy, poverty and joblessness, dysfunctional government departments, agencies and municipalities, and high levels of violent crime.
In KwaZulu-Natal, there is also the added problem of political killings, especially of councillors and traditional leaders.
In the 2019 general elections, the African National Congress won the KZN province convincingly with more than two million votes and 54% of the provincial vote, followed by the IFP with 16.3%, the DA with 13.9% and the EFF with 9.7%.
Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC’s shock by-election loss to IFP in KZN spells danger for party ahead of 2024 — analysts
Things have since changed. In the 2021 local government elections, the ANC dropped significantly in the province, garnering only 41% of the vote, against the IFP’s 24%, the DA’s 12% and the EFF’s 8%.
IFP and DA coalitions are already co-running several municipalities, especially in northern KZN, including the Richards Bay-based uMhlathuze Municipality. The two parties are already eyeing the KZN province and have signed a Multi-Party Charter agreement with other opposition parties ahead of next year’s elections.
The ANC has been given a hiding by the IFP in a number of by-elections, even in areas where it was formerly strong. Some pundits regard this as a sign that the ruling party will perform dismally in KZN next year.
But, Duma maintains, “There is no doubt that the ANC will win the elections in KZN. We remain proud of the record of the ANC in this province.
“Before the ANC took over in 2004, KwaZulu-Natal was regarded as the poorest performer in the country in the provision of piped water, sanitation, refuse removal and electricity…
“This situation prompted the declaration of a state of emergency by the newly elected ANC government. This was aimed at fast-tracking service delivery.
“This shows that the ANC has delivered for the people of KZN. Together, we are marching to the 2024 general and provincial elections to ensure a resounding victory. We are unstoppable.”
‘ANC must stop infighting’
Some leading ANC members said they were relieved to see so many supporters turn up at Sunday’s event, with one saying that this restored his confidence that the party could still emerge victorious in the province.
ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, who was a keynote speaker at the manifesto review, said his party had achieved 70 of the 120 priorities set out in its 2019 election manifesto. Other priorities, especially those related to jobs and the growth of the economy, could not be achieved because of Covid-19 and other factors.
Mbalula urged ANC leaders and supporters to stop fighting among themselves and ensure that the party won next year’s elections. He said the ANC had to stop its obsession with the DA’s provincial premier candidate, uMngeni Municipality Mayor Chris Pappas, and rely on its own strength and track records to win elections.
The ANC Youth League marched against Pappas last week, accusing him of corruption and urging him to step aside until the allegations were thoroughly investigated. Pappas has denied any wrongdoing and says the accusations are nothing but hallucinations of a ruling party jealous of his achievements.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Timing of allegations against Mayor Chris Pappas suggests ANC is panicking in KZN
Mbalula said, “The ANC must unite. This thing of ANC members killing each other, the killing of councillors here in KZN, must stop.”
He said the ANC had no problem with former president Jacob Zuma and the party could call him in to help its election fortunes in the province.
According to the SRF poll, Zuma’s popularity or favourability rating in the province is 63%. President Cyril Ramaphosa polled a paltry 31% favourability rating in the province. DM