Pretoria - With just over three months to go before the municipal elections, political parties are set to intensify their campaigns as they vie to attract undecided voters.
Twenty parties and 13 independent candidates will contest elections in Tshwane, the Independent Electoral Commission said.
Recent opinion polls by Ipsos showed elections in the capital were likely to be a three-horse race between the ANC, DA and the EFF. The surveys noted that none of the contenders stood a chance to win an outright majority.
In terms of the polls, the DA saw an increase of seven percentage points and the ANC a decrease of 12 percentage points.
The EFF received the most votes from people who believe the party would create jobs.
Many political parties share the same sentiment as the pollsters with the exception of the ANC.
Regional ANC spokesman Teboho Joala said that historically polls had proven to be biased towards opposition parties and inaccurate. “The ANC trusts the direct views of the people on the ground more than opinion polls.”
The ANC constantly conducted door-to-door campaigns where it listened to people’s views, he said.
“The fate of the party would be decided by the people on the ground on August 3,” he added.
Abby Nkwana, Cope elections co-ordinator for Tshwane, said his party conducted door-to-door campaigns because political rallies were costly.
“We don’t have enough posters but the plan was to start putting up posters this week,” he said.
Nkwana said his party was going into the elections as the possible kingmaker. He agreed with the opinion polls that suggested no political party would clinch victory with an outright majority.
“We are aware of the strong contenders in Tshwane, which are the EFF, ANC and the DA,” he said.
Cope was likely to become a preferred party to enter into a coalition with any party, which won’t win with more than 50% of votes.
He declined to reveal the political party Cope would be willing to pair with to run the capital city.
“The ANC won’t form a coalition with the DA and the ruling party has issues with the EFF. It is therefore up to us to decide on which devil we would like to go to bed with,” he said.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said his party embarked on a campaign to speak to registered voters because big meetings don’t serve as a litmus test for support.
“We are now focusing on speaking to each voter to win them over at that level of interaction,” he said.
Commenting on the opinion polls, he added: “It is not something that shocked us. We have been saying the ANC had dropped support since the 2014 elections.”
At this stage, he didn’t want to entertain thinking of forming a coalition “because the undecided voters can still be swayed to vote in favour of the EFF”.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said undecided voters could still swing the vote to give the ANC an absolute victory.
At this stage 17% of voters remain undecided about who they would vote for, the polls show.
Silke said the election outcomes would be very significant for the city if the ANC failed to garner more than 50% of the votes.
DA mayoral candidate Solly Msimanga said the party would deploy high-profile figures in the capital of the nation to intensify its campaign.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane would on Monday engage in another campaign to entice more voters in the city.
City of Cape Town mayor Patricilia de Lille would also join Msimanga this week to drum up more support for the party.
Msimanga said: “The DA campaign has been going very well, so much so that we had to visit some wards in the city three times.”
With the polls around the corner, the DA would redouble its efforts and had already started hosting six activities a day in each ward.
Also on the cards were plans to host a number of mini rallies. “We also wanted to have a huge march but the City of Tshwane is refusing to grant us permission,” he said.
On the opinion polls he said: “We take note. We knew all along we would be neck-on-neck with the ANC. It shows our hard work is paying dividends.”
The DA would not go into a coalition for the sake of being in government. “The party we go into a coalition with will have to understand that we have the mandate to serve our people.”