ANC is strong when opposition is weak - political analyst

A political analyst says the ANC won the national elections due to weak opposition parties.
A political analyst says the ANC won the national elections due to weak opposition parties.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The ANC was able to retain power on a national level as a result of weak opposition parties who are unable to take advantage of the part'y factional battles. This is the view of Professor Susan Booysen, a research director at Mapungubwe.

She attributed the governing party's 57.5% result at the May polls to opposition parties who never seized the moment. "The ANC has been at a particularly weak point, especially in the run-up to the (2019) elections, but the ANC is kept strong by weak opposition and they keep serving the ANC beautifully in this regard," said Booysen.

She was speaking last night in Midrand at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection's (Mistra) event on the analysis of the 2019 elections, looking into voting trends 25 years into democracy.

Booysen said opposition parties should have capitalised on the ANC's divisions but did not do so.  "It was a highly unusual party political contest in this election because the ANC's biggest opponent in this election was the ANC itself.

"The ANC was running against the ANC in many respects and much of its political campaigning was to persuade the electorate that there's absolutely one, united clear-cut ANC that was contesting in these elections," said Booysen.

In the recent polls, the governing party remained in power by 57.74% of the votes, down from 62.15% they obtained in 2014. In second place was the DA, which dropped to 20.77%, down from 22.23, followed by the EFF whose support grew nationally to 10.79% from 6.35%.

In the recent elections, the ANC also showed smaller parties flames by winning all provinces except for the Western Cape, where it is still the official opposition to the DA again.

Booysen observed that if the ANC was able to recover in an election that was highly contested with 47 opposition parties, then its support will continue to grow if it maintains its momentum.

Mistra also noted in their report that spoilt ballots in the recent elections had a relatively minor impact, pointing out that fewer ballots were  spoilt compared to 2014. "However, if one adds spoilt papers together with non-registration and abstention, this block is close to 236,000 votes, and gives the impression of deliberate refusal by a significant number of South African voters to participate in the electoral system to exercise a party political choice," it said.

Turning to low voter turnout,  Mistra noted that youth not registering in great numbers, or registering but not bothering to vote, contributed substantially in the elections delivering the lowest voter turnout since 1994.

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