The battle for Gauteng

Mmusi Maimane

What is the DA polling at now in Gauteng, with only three weeks to go before the voters go to the polls on May 7?

Mmusi Maimane is the DA's premier candidate in Gauteng. Photo: Mujahid Safodien. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

We are polling in the late 30s. Our objective has always been to bring the ANC down below 50 percent and right now they are polling at about 44 percent.

What percentage of the vote do you realistically think the DA will win?

We are working hard to get into the early 40s and I think that’s a realistic target.

In what region(s) of Gauteng is the DA polling or performing best?

We have seen great growth in areas where people have been long forgotten, and young South Africans who are unemployed. And young urban people for whom our brand has been very appealing.

What has led to the ANC’s fall from 64 percent five years ago?

The ANC took over 20 years ago with such high expectations that many have not been realised. More people are finding it harder to find work, so the level of unemployment is somewhere near 34 percent. People are seeing high levels of corruption. In Gauteng R6 billion is wasted. There is a backlog in infrastructure (and) housing. The 200 informal settlements will eventually constitute well over 1 million people. Safety is a chronic battle.

What is the DA’s most innovative policy proposal in relation to Gauteng?

Without fail, it’s the focus on creating the space for people to gain economic equity. That’s making it easier for small businesses to develop. It’s about saying let those with the best ideas rent… buildings for R1 a year. We want to give title deeds to communities that don’t have title deeds, and that’s about 220 000 families.

What is your party’s winning policy?

It’s the title deeds, because that gives people equity into the economy and as it relates to job creation it’s a vital issue.

The DA’s plans to win more voters?

We will spend a lot more time increasing the visibility of our offer. We’ve shown we are the only party that can do sizeable damage to the ANC so now we’ve got to do the hard work in making sure our offer is put to every voter, so people are crystal clear what kind of government they can expect.

What are the chances of the DA becoming part of a governing coalition?

The chance exists, it’s certainly something we will consider. We… can’t talk about coalition partners who are committed to a racial mobilisation or who are not committed to small businesses, or not committed to helping us hire the best people and the most capable staff.

Which party would be the DA’s preferred coalition partner?

I think on the basis of those principles, only then would we consider a coalition partner. But it would be premature to talk about it now ahead of the vote as we would only be asking voters to split votes.

Has the Nkandla scandal helped or hindered your campaign?

Nkandla has highlighted the problem of corruption… When you talk about R6 billion wasteful expenditure in Gauteng, it’s in broad terms, whereas Nkandla is tangible and people can now make the links and see how Jacob Zuma treats his cattle better than most people. People across all groupings are repelled by this.

Has Zuma’s performance as president helped or hindered the DA?

He has helped us immensely because Zuma is a failure to South Africa not only economically but in terms of being able to curb this issue of corruption.

Has incumbent premier, the ANC’s Nomvula Mokonyane, and her performance helped or hindered your party?

Nomvula is a sensible South African but her biggest problem is that she belongs to a fragmented party so can’t get policies enacted. She can’t get any decisions taken. So she has become a person of great promise but little delivery.

What have you personally done for the province in the past five years?

I served on the Joburg council and our work in opposition has been good. I have monitored 45 of our ward councillors, which is half of our overall number.

How does the DA realistically plan to create jobs in Gauteng?

No government creates jobs but creates enabling environments. We want to make it easier to survive through small business hubs, by offering low rentals on government buildings, by assisting with capital. And take government tenders and break them down to smaller bits to make sure the small enterprise can become a medium one. Also to have industrial zones.

What is the unemployment rate?

On a narrow definition it is 34 percent but a broad one might include more people.

What’s is Gauteng’s GDP figure?

It’s a third of the national GDP so it is just about R350 billion and R400bn.

What is your party’s policy on the environment for Gauteng?

We want to shift heavy carbon-emitting nodes to becoming sustainable, but we also talk about creating ecosystems where people can live. We have bio-diesel initiatives.

Would the DA continue with e-tolls?

No, that’s why we have asked to put a referendum on the table so that the people of Gauteng can vote on it.

The DA’s policy on corruption?

We want to open tender adjudication meetings and remove MECs and premiers from them. We want to abolish credit cards for officials. We will make sure no one drives a vehicle more expensive than R1.3 million.

How much of Gauteng’s public purse is lost to corruption?

R6 billion, according to the most recent auditor-general’s report.

Paul Mashatile

What is the ANC polling at now in Gauteng, with three weeks to go before the elections?

We are polling around 60%. I think that’s where we are hovering. There were earlier polls that were very low but now we have come up to around 60%.

What percentage of the vote do you realistically think the ANC will win on May 7?

We will get 65%. We want to get even more than we did in 2009.

In what region(s) of Gauteng is the ANC polling or performing best?

Sedibeng, in the Vaal area, is our best and where we are well in the high sixties. We are comfortable there in Sedibeng. It has been traditionally our stronghold although in terms of numbers our biggest votes will come from Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg, the metros.

That’s where we are concentrating our campaign.

What do you think has led to the ANC’s fall from 64% five years ago to where they are sitting today?

We’ve got a lot of challenges. As a ruling party people criticise us for a whole lot of things. I know in Gauteng people are not currently happy about e-tolls. Sometimes when you go around campaigning people will raise the issue of Nkandla. But there are other problems like unemployment, which is a big problem throughout the country.

So as a ruling party you get more criticised when there are challenges because people think you can resolve these things and they want to know why you are not doing that.

That’s why we are explaining to them now in the campaign that we will grow the economy and create jobs. If there are issues with e-tolls we will look into them.

What is the ANC’s most innovative policy proposal in your manifesto specifically in relation to Gauteng?

We are a very youthful province so I think the issue around the youth proposals to create jobs are very important, what other people call the youth wage subsidy. But the youth incentives will help us a lot because there is a concentration of young people in our province.

What is your party’s winning policy for Gauteng?

Again, it will be the youth policy, definitely.

What are the ANC’s plans to win more voters at this late stage of the campaign?

Our campaign is now in high gear and we are campaigning every day. Our target is the 50 top townships in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. We will still be campaigning in the periphery but we will be focusing our efforts over the next few weeks in the three metros and on the top 50 townships.

What are the chances of the ANC becoming part of a governing coalition?

I think not in this election. And I say that will full confidence. It’s not on the cards now, not in this election. We are not even thinking in terms of a coalition.

Which party would be the ANC’s preferred partner?

For coalitions, you look at people who have the numbers and those who can agree with you on policies. But it’s a not even up for discussion.

We do get questions around Nkandla but we explain to people that it’s being addressed; that people inflated the prices, that there is an SIU investigation into the matter. I think people appreciate it when we say the things that went wrong are going to be addressed.

Has President Jacob Zuma’s performance as president of the country helped or hindered the ANC in this campaign?

The president has not done badly, as far as running governments is concerned. The challenges we have in government would have hurt anyway because of the recession. Our economy is on recovery as speak.

In terms of leadership of the government, I don’t’ think we have a weak presidency. I think the presidency is fine. We have other challenges but the leadership is okay.

We have challenges and he helps us to address those challenges. Like with Nkandla and the Guptagate. In other words, he is prepared to take action where there is wrongdoing.

In the past few years there have been more attacks on him than any other president, but I don’t think we can isolate our president as our biggest challenge. .

Has the incumbent premier, the ANC’s Nomvula Mokonyane, and her performance over five years helped or hindered your party?

I don’t think the province has done badly under her (watch), so no, she hasn’t been a hindrance.

My focus has been national government.

How you does the ANC realistically plan to create jobs in Gauteng?

I think through infrastructure investment we will see more jobs. We will be building more houses. We want to expand the Gautrain (and) we are extending the Rea Vaya (bus) system, for example.

What is the unemployment rate in Gauteng?

It’s hovering around 24%.

What is Gauteng’s GDP figure?

We remain the biggest contributor to the national fiscus – somewhere around 36% – so we are still the biggest economy in terms of GDP contribution.

We are pushing for a greener economy. For instance if you look at our construction industry in housing, we use solar geysers. A lot of our construction is environmentally friendly. We create green spaces.

If elected will you continue with the e-toll in its current form?

We will make sure it is affordable to most people. This thing of capping the monthly payments must be implemented. We will tell Sanral, for instance, stick to that. Continue to exempt taxis and public transport, curb the fees at R500 as promised. All money collected must be invested into improving the roads.

What is policy on corruption?

We have an integrity committee, to vet our candidates.

I don’t have the figure but I don’t think it’s something that would be frighteningly out of proportion because Gauteng is well run.

Dali Mpofu

What is the EFF polling at now in Gauteng, with just three weeks to go before the elections on May 7?

As a party we don’t do polls. We are just hard on the ground. We know those polls don’t go to the informal settlements where we mainly operate so they are inaccurate not just for us but for all parties who are guided by them.

What percentage of the vote do you realistically think the EFF will win?

We are aiming to win and if we don’t win we would still expect to be part of the government, either by an outside win or by a coalition, but we aim to be in the Gauteng government.

In what region(s) of Gauteng is the EFF polling (or performing) best?

I think Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane are our strongest regions.

What do you think has led to the ANC’s fall from 64 percent five years ago to where they are sitting today?

It’s because in Gauteng you probably have a more discerning voter who has access to the media and access to seeing exactly the kind of dismal failures under the ANC and the stark inequalities in communities that live side by side, with one living in opulence and the other living in poverty. So the failures are not only more pronounced here but Gauteng is a place where those failures are easier to observe.

What is the EFF’s most innovative policy proposal in your manifesto, specifically in relation to Gauteng?

The most innovative is the introduction of minimum wages and the plan to create a million small- and medium-sized enterprises that will employ five people each.

Everything I have just mentioned and I would add housing and sanitation.

What are the EFF’s plans to win more voters at this late stage?

Until now we have canvassed the poor but over the next few weeks we will spread our focus to talk to the more privileged groupings to tell them the economic emancipation of the poor is also in their long-term interests, otherwise their future is also bleak.

What are the chances of the EFF becoming part of a governing coalition?

We will cross that bridge when we get to it. We can’t deal with it now as it will depend on the outcome of the results and those results will guide us in the right direction if it is down to a coalition.

Which party would be the EFF’s preferred coalition partner?

Whichever party supports our radical transformation of the economy.

Not so much either way as our focus is on radical transformation of the economy. We think the endemic corruption is inherent in the capitalist system practised.

Has President Jacob Zuma’s performance as president helped or hindered the EFF in its Gauteng campaign?

It has helped for sure because his performance has been so dismal. And his empty promises now of 6 million job opportunities in the future is helping us even more, as that promise is meaningless.

Has incumbent premier, the ANC’s Nomvula Mokonyane, and her performance over the past five years helped or hindered your party in this campaign?

In the constituencies where we operate, her performance has helped as she has created the situation where Bekkersdal is now a no-go area for the ANC and we, the EFF, are welcomed with open arms. And that’s because of her comment that the ANC doesn’t need the “dirty votes” of the locals.

I headed up the ANC’s Gauteng Partnership Fund, which provides social housing. Wherever I was asked to assist I have always assisted. I’ve been interacting with people in informal settlements in various ways and at various levels, either at a personal or professional, for many years.

How you do realistically plan to create jobs in Gauteng?

The only way is to stimulate the economy and put money in people’s pockets. If there is no demand for goods, there will be no job creation to make those goods and services available… we need to put money in people’s pockets to make sure there is spending power in the economy and that’s why we place a premium on minimum wages and increasing social grants. You can couple that with our plans for massive infrastructure development and small business development.

Do you know what the unemployment rate is in Gauteng?

It’s in the twenties.

The GDP is 36 percent of national GDP.

Even though we are pushing for massive industrialisation we are saying those plans must at all times be sensitive to the resources that are being used.

If the EFF is elected, will you continue with the e-toll in its current form?

No, we will remove the gantries immediately and focus on repaying the debt through … the fuel levy and income taxes. There is no need for a triple taxing.

The EFF’s policy on corruption?

We are the only party calling for a minimum sentence of 20 years for any public official found guilty of corruption… if anyone in our party is found guilty … they cannot serve in government and we (want) specialised courts to deal with corruption.

The figures bandied about range from R7 billion to R10bn.