This year’s SA municipal elections proved to be earth shattering.
The EFF gained 713 seats despite being a party formed within the last decade, sending major shocks throughout the providences, African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) lost votes in terms of total participation.
Wednesdays turnout for all parties dropped significantly, with the exception of the EFF who saw a uptick in overall participation.
The number of registered South Africans who had voted as of Wednesday evening stood at 26.32% while it was nearly double that in 2016, hitting a 58.8% participation mark.
The ruling coalition between ANC and DA is becoming more unpopular as time goes on, and this years election results only further illustrated that fact of reality.
By 1.30am on Thursday morning, 94% of the votes had been counted. Nationally, it saw the ANC leading with 46.16%, down from 54.91% in 2016.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) only around 12 million people representing less than half of registered voters casting ballots in the local elections.
Cape Town regional secretary Banzi Dambuza said the EFF party saw a 42% increase in the number of city council seats they now hold in the metro alone despite being unable to campaign for last year due to the Wuhan virus lockdowns.
“The EFF is very happy that the seats have increased. Initially when we started in 2016, the first local government elections, we had seven seats. Now we are currently sitting at 10,” said Dambuza.
The EFF was just started in 2013 and claims several hundred thousand members, yet saw its greatest gain in Wednesdays elections, splitting the vote between the predominant coalition.
“We are satisfied that, of the top three political parties, we are the only one who have not had any reduction of votes as compared to 2016,” said EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu in a post election press conference.
“The others have reduced drastically in terms of the number of votes that they have, but also in terms of the number of public representatives that are going to represent them in different municipalities,” said Shivambu.
Polling data indicates that the EFF actually received over a tenth of the municipalities votes, meaning that vacant councils or councils in municipalities without a clear majority rule will be susceptible to EFF policy proposals.
Onlookers note that this is the first time the EFF have secured wards in the Free State’s Metsimaholo Municipality, a ward previously dominated by the ANC. Additionally, the party completely swept the historic municipality of Robben Island, netting over 51% of the vote in the local government elections.
More of which, if over half of the country declined to participate, it also means that the EFF has potentially 54% of the country who is unimpressed by what many describe as a corrupt and scandal prone ANC, and those subjects still wish to be lobbied for their vote.
The ANC has never been more unpopular in its 30 year tenure, with dozens of protest pertaining to a lack of utilities working for locals occurring over the last year.
“What is impressive is that we have managed to reduce the ANC to below 50%. Meaning that more than 50 % of South Africans are not happy with the ruling party which is the ANC, a former liberation movement,” Shivambu said.
“We are satisfied because we continue to grow consistently, as an organization, and we are growing evenly in all parts of South Africa. We are not a regional party, we are not a village party – we are a party that is represented in all corners of South Africa,” he finished.
But most importantly, the EFF’s local gains shed light on the massive African elephant in the room; The vaunted 2024 national elections.
2024’s national elections will set into motion the biggest challenge to the ANC in retaining power with an often reluctant DA party who believes its on the rise and against a new burgeoning EFF caucus that now has more notoriety and seats needed to bolster their standing on the national scale.
“We have gained in municipalities where we previously had no representation. In uMngeni we had no councilors and now we have two seats, in Impendle we had none, but now we have two seats, in Mpofana we gained a seat as well as a ward in Langalibalele (Estcourt) Municipality.” said Vusi Khoza who is a KwaZulu-Natal EFF provincial chairperson.
Despite the impressive turnout the party is still looking into discrepancies in the voting process.
“Despite the fact that we are sitting at 10 seats (in Cape Metro), we believe that there are votes that were stolen. There are even issues that we have raised with the IEC where there are votes that have disappeared,” Secretary Dambuza said.
Julius Malema was much more elated concerning the results.
“What is more exciting is that the ANC has gone below 50%. Someone was supposed to play Tsonga music here so that I can dance for you. I’m the happiest man because when we started this mission in 2013, we said that we are going to make sure that the ANC is out of power.” He cheerfully proclaimed.
“Whether it’s the EFF, whether it’s the DA or another one who reduces the ANC majority to humble them, then we are happy because what is the strategic objective?” Malema continued. “The strategic objective is that the ruling party of thieves and gangsters that have turned against black people must get out of power.”
–Sylvester Loving, B1Daily