Johannesburg - The opposition Democratic Alliance plans to give the ruling ANC a serious black eye in the 2014 elections by winning up to 30 percent of the vote, a party leader has told AFP.
“We are aiming for 30 percent,” said Lindiwe Mazibuko, the DA’s Parliamentary leader and the woman tipped by many to one day lead the opposition.
“I suspect that we will get between 25 and 30 on a sunny day, and between 20 and 25 if it's a particularly uphill battle,” she said, acknowledging a likely ANC victory.
At the 2009 elections the DA got 16 percent of the vote, but hit nearly 25 percent in 2011 local elections.
The ANC has swept all post-apartheid polls and won nearly two thirds of votes in the last national election.
An ANC loss in 2014 would be a political upset. But amid impatience about the stagnating economy and a series of scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma, the DA smells blood.
Mazibuko expects the mighty African National Congress to bleed votes at the fifth all-race national polls since former president Nelson Mandela's release.
“They'll win the election but they will take a hammering,” predicted Mazibuko.
“It wouldn't surprise me if the ANC was pushed into the 50s in this election.”
“It became clear to us that there's a vast number of South Africans who are utterly turned off by Jacob Zuma and I think the ANC must be picking up the same thing.”
But the DA faces its own challenges.
Despite Mazibuko's high-profile role, the party is seen as representing upper and middle class whites who are a minority of voters.
And as of next week the DA may face its own electoral stalking horse, in the form of Mamphela Ramphele.
The former World Bank managing director and anti-apartheid activist is set to make an announcement on her political future on Monday.
A new party has the potential to fragment non-ANC voters and draw those mulling a turn to the DA, but Ramphele may yet throw up opportunities for a broad-based coalition.
Mazibuko admits that has caused a haze to descend over the political landscape.
“It's very hard for me to predict now.”
“If you'd asked me six months ago, I would have said with some certainty that we'd get between 25 and 30 percent but I don't know what the electoral landscape is going to look like,” said Mazibuko.
In the party's 2014 sight are the provinces of Gauteng and the Northern Cape.
The Western Cape - including Cape Town - is currently led by the DA and is the only province not held by the ANC.
With a solid showing next time round, the DA believes it can unseat the ANC in 2019 or 2024.