SA elections: all eyes on CT, Joburg and PE

By Susan Miller

South Africans go to the polls after what seems to have been a robust municipal election contest.

While former President and South African icon Nelson Mandela and other elderly and frail voters have already cast their special votes, Wednesday is the big day for the vast majority of voters.

What is looks like from London? It seems there might be a swing to the DA – which might be so small as to be unnoticeable or which could change the look of SA democratic politics.

This would be especially true if the DA holds the Western Cape, Patricia de Lille is elected mayor of Cape Town and Helen Zille is proved right and her party takes key targets – like the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality  (Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape.

However the ANC has played to its strengths and stresses it is not unduly bothered by claims it may face losses at this election – President Jacob Zuma says the party is not expecting to lose any metros and indeed expects to take the Western Cape and Cape Town back from the DA.

They have picked a strong Cape Town mayoral candidate in trade unionist Tony Ehrenreich but they needed to as de Lille has a lot of support and is popular across the board.

Things could go to the wire in Cape Town and even in Johannesburg where the DA mayoral candidate Mmusi Maimane has met with a lot of warmth and has run a very strong campaign.

Born in Soweto and studying towards a second masters degree in public administration, Maimane has done well against ANC mayoral candidate Parks Tau.

Tau however has a strong record in struggle politics and served as president of the Soweto Youth Congress and is currently Regional Deputy Chairperson of the ANC Johannesburg region.

The Daily Maverick feels the main event will be in Port Elizabeth, where the ANC won outright in 2006 with 67% of the vote.

Since then however, the DM points out that the ANC has suffered from dwindling support and the birth of Cope.

In the 2009 provincial vote, 96% of the vote was shared between the ANC, DA and Cope. However as the website points out, comparing municipal and national election data is a bit like comparing Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples.

There’s a chance that no one party will win an overall majority and coalitions will have to be formed – which is where the UDM and Azapo parties may come into the equation.

Will the DA and Cope align themselves and will they get enough of the vote to take on a strong ANC support base.

On that note what of Cope?

Well the latest story on the wires may sum up its campaign – co-founded Mbhazima Shilowa had to deny he was planning to leave the party and rejoin the ANC.

Instead he is to lodge a court application to have himself declared president of Cope over co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota as well as party leader and to interdict to prevent Lekota from holding any public office on behalf of Cope.

(This was after Lekota obtained an interdict in February removing Shilowa from the party’s leadership).

So a bit busy looking inwards then?

Some vote quotes:The ANC is allowed to dance wherever they like. This is a free country. Everywhere I’ve been the ANC has followed. They find a street corner and they begin to toyi-toyi.’ Helen Zille on being ‘disrupted’ by the ANC.

‘They are called leaders…they are not leaders, they are to serve the madam tea.’ ANCYL leader Julius Malema describing the DA’s Patricia de Lille and Lindiwe Mazibuko.

(The youth leader will need some luck if and when he meets either of those two assured women face-to-face)!

Above all else the campaign has been fascinating.

And we can only hope that the issues that have been exposed – corruption, nepotism and especially lack of service and those disgraceful ‘unenclosed’ toilets (implicating both the DA and the ANC) – will now be addressed by all parties.

And most of all let polling day be peaceful in South Africa!