Premium Journalist
3 minute read
3 May 2019
11:56 am

Political parties hold final rallies ahead of May 8 elections


At least 48 political parties are contesting the election, 19 more compared to 2014.

South Africa - Johannesburg - 22 April 2019 - Motorist are seen driving past election posters in Alberton, a record of 48 political parties will contest this year's elections, millions of South Africans will flock to voting stations around the country to make their mark on 8 May. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa’s three top political parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and the African National Congress (ANC) will hold rallies this weekend in Johannesburg in a final push to lure voters ahead of next week’s general elections.

At least 26,756,898 million South Africans are eligible to vote on May 8.

The ANC and the EFF will hold rallies on the same day on Sunday.

Ellis Park Stadium, the venue for the ANC’s “Siyanqoba” rally, accommodates 60,000 people while the adjacent Johannesburg stadium, to be used as an overflow venue, has a 37,000 capacity. The governing party’s traditional ”we are winning” rally is held a few days before the election, with the president leading the celebrations. ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said his party was ”poised for a landslide victory”, ruling out possible coalitions with other parties.

He told journalists at a briefing on Thursday: ”Others have been quick to suggest possibilities of coalitions between the ANC and other parties. We reject any suggestion that the ANC is considering any form of coalition in any province. We are confident of a decisive victory at both national and provincial levels. The last few years have demonstrated that coalitions undermine democracy and do nothing to advance service delivery. The ANC is in this elections to win decisively.”

Mbalula’s sentiments about an overwhelming victory remain to be seen after May 8, especially in the hotly contested Gauteng province. The ANC is marred by allegations of state capture and rampant corruption that has left the party more divided. Polls have shown that the ANC lost ground and will have to scrape for votes in an election seen as the most crucial since the dawn of democracy in 1994. Pre-election polling data from researchers at Ipsos put the ANC up in front with just over 56%, a drop from 62% in the 2014 elections. The DA weakened from 18% to 15% while the EFF continued to grow, at nearly 10%, up from 6% in 2014. Another poll, released this week by the Institute of Race Relations indicated the opposite. The survey shows that the ANC will take a dip and drop below 50%, the DA securing 23%, and the EFF garnering 14.9% of the vote. Voter turnout will be a deciding factor for the three parties.

The EFF’s “Tshela Thupa” rally returns to Soweto’s 40,000 seater venue, the Orlando Stadium, on Sunday. The red berets held their 2014 manifesto launch at the venue, filling the stadium to the rafters. Dubbed ”the festival of the poor”, the festivity is for unemployed young and old, security guards and farm and domestic workers, the party said. The EFF has seen significant growth in support, especially among the youth. Dogged by allegations of financial mismanagement and the VBS scandal, the red berets are weathering the storm, promising a socialist government with access to land and increased social grants, among others.

EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego told an audience in Soweto during a town hall debate hosted by eNCA: ”The EFF will surprise more people again this year.”

The current official opposition party, Mmusi Mamane’s DA, is hoping to get more votes ”for change” in these elections. The ”blue wave” rally will be held at Soweto’s Dobsonville Stadium, and not at the 30,000 capacity Rand Stadium that the party utilises for election rallies. Maimane, riding on the ANC corruption and state capture allegations, urged South Africans to honour the ANC ”as a monument” but vote DA.

”The ANC is now history. Over the course of their 25 years in office, they have gone from Movement to Monument. Next week we must put them in the museum, and we must put the DA in government. That would be the very best thing we all could do for our country,” he told a group of supporters in Bloemfontein, Free State, last week.

At least 48 political parties are contesting the election, 19 more compared to 2014.

– African News Agency

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