The biggest threat faced by the ANC in the upcoming general elections was not from the opposition, but people staying away from the ballot box.
This is according to the ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, who was fielding reporters’ questions in Durban after the release of a poll on how the ruling party would fare if the elections were to be held today.
“A threat? There’s not a single one,” Zikalala said, referring to the dent opposition parties could possibly put in the ANC’s election armour.
“We want to deepen political participation, and the problem we have is people with who say, ‘we are not going to vote’,” he said. “Once people are at the voting station, they will vote ANC. We are not concerned about opposition… the real opposition is people that won’t vote.”
According to an Ipsos poll released this week, the ANC would not meet its target to change the constitution if elections were to be held today.
ANC president Jacob Zuma had reportedly told supporters at a rally in Mbombela, Mpumalanga that he wanted them to vote in their numbers so that he could change “certain things that couldn’t be changed with a small majority so that we can move forward because there are certain hurdles”.
He did not specify what he wanted to change.
But, according to Ipsos, the ANC would only attain a two-thirds majority in Eastern Cape and Limpopo, with 71.4 percent and 67.2 percent respectively.
The party would win another five provinces but lose out in Western Cape and Northern Cape, where findings by Ipsos showed that the DA would be victorious with 54.1 percent in the former and 45.9 percent in the latter.
The ANC would lose over six percentage points of the vote in KZN, capturing 56.6 percent, a significant decrease from the 62.9 percent attained in the 2009 general elections, the polling company said.
The research was based on face-to-face interviews of more than 3 500 people in rural and urban areas late last year.
But the ANC in KZN, which according to the poll will beat the DA hands down in the province – it said the DA would get 11.2 percent of the vote if an election were to be held today – has poured cold water on the findings.
“It doesn’t bother us and we are not concerned about what some poll says, we are concerned about the lives of our people,” the party’s deputy provincial secretary, Nomusa Dube, said at the same press conference on Thursday.
Ipsos said the IFP would have only 9.8 percent share of the vote in KZN – a decrease from the 22.4 percent in the previous general elections.
The MF would manage 0.9 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Zikalala said all political parties in the province should be able to campaign freely, without the pressures of political intolerance.
This comes after 30 ANC supporters were arrested in Nkandla at the weekend for violently reacting to members of the EFF who had come to hand over a house that the party had build for a local woman, a neighbour of Zuma.
They face public violence charges.
Several members of the ANC’s national executive committee, including Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, have already condemned the behaviour of the ANC supporters who had pelted the EFF supporters and with rocks, stones and bottles.
Of the 30 suspects, 27 were released on bail of R500 each, while three juveniles were released into the care of their parents. “We regret what happened in Nkandla where our members are alleged to have blocked members of the EFF,” Zikalala said.
He said a message had been communicated to the party’s regional structures to behave in a “mature” fashion. He said that the ANC’s Musa Dladla region (Nkandla) had to submit a report to address what went wrong on Saturday.
According to the Ipsos research, Julius Malema’s EFF would be the official opposition in the North West and Limpopo provinces, with respectively 12.7 and 11.4 percent of the vote.
In Gauteng, where the introduction of e-tolls has irked locals, Ipsos said the ANC would lose votes, but still manage 42.7 percent. They would be followed by the DA (22.6 percent) and the EFF with 7.3 percent.
In Western Cape, the DA would increase its support from 51.5 percent in 2009, to 54.1 percent this year, while the ANC would dip from 31.6 to 27 percent, the company said.