Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, March 03, 2006

Battleground Cape
There are two big stories to come out of this election; the gains of the ANC nationally, and the Western Cape municipality. The ANC extends their gains from the last municipal elections in 2002 against a perceived backdrop of service delivery failures, lack of poverty alleviation and corruption allegations. Their move from 60% in 2002 to 67% in 2006 (despite the loss of the Cape) says great things about the strength in voting bloc of the liberation party. It will take many years yet before the majority of South African voters express their protest against service delivery and other issues by voting against the ANC, as they see it as a betrayal of the party that led them to freedom.

Personally, I think the ANC grip on power in the Western Cape was solely theirs to lose as opposed to the ANC winning it, and lose it they did, for two reasons: Eskom power failures and Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo. The ANC paid dearly for both of those issues, one largely out of their control regionally, and one very much of their own doing.

The results as they stand at present (with 98% of the votes cast) are the DA with 42%, the ANC with 39% and the ID with 11%. Although a far cry from their insanely predicted 40-58%, the ID still remain King-makers of this arena, but they're not playing ball. After calls for a coalition last night, the ID (read Patricia De Lille) is resolute in the fact that they will not enter any coalition. What the ID is seeking is the situation where they are the swing vote on each and every decision made in the Western Cape, thus elevating their status. Any coalition with the DA or the ANC pulls them in to a party line, and hides the face of the ID from the voting public. For Patricia De Lille, eternally seduced by hearing her own voice, this is nirvana. Politically astute it may not be, as it may only lead to a seizure of the wheels of government in the Western Cape, but it is exactly what De Lille has been pining for since the party's founding four years ago.

What's going to happen in the Cape? The next few days will tell, but one can only see the DA's elation turning to apprehension.

*As a final note, let me congratulate the IEC on what was an impeccably run election.