IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi arriving in KwaMashu to address his party 's gathering just before the elections. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Durban - With three days to go before the elections, some analysts believe that the ANC might lose urban voters in the province’s biggest cities, Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

The loss would be the result of the wild cat strike in Durban that has left some communities battling for water and electricity and Pietermaritzburg (Msunduzi) being placed under administration after alleged looting by officials and politicians left it penniless.

Xolani Dube, a political analyst with Xubera Institute for Research and Development, said this has dented the ANC’s image and the middle class in these urban centres were unhappy and would punish the party that has worked hard for months to woo voters. He said as a result of the Durban protests, voters would start asking themselves why they should give the ANC power to do more damage.

“They will retain the province, but with a reduced majority and in a hostile environment as they will lose the post-apartheid middle class and educated urban voters,” Dube said.

According to Dube, the biggest winner out of this will be the IFP, which could gain in rural areas. He said that could make the IFP the official opposition, taking over from the DA.

“The IFP is going to be comfortable in rural areas while the ANC will be struggling in urban centres,” he predicted.

However, another analyst, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, of the University of the Western Cape, said the protests in Durban would do little to dent the ANC’s support, saying they had happened when most people had already made a decision that they would vote for the ANC. He added that the ANC leadership tried to manage the damage and in that way only a few voters would desert the party.

“This strike happened very late when people had already decided who they are going to vote for. Because this is an internal matter within the alliance and it doesn’t involve outsiders, the damage won’t be as huge as anticipated in terms of votes,” said Mngomezulu.

Despite the differing opinions between Dube and Mngomezulu, they both agreed that the IFP was likely to emerge as the provincial opposition.

“The IFP has benefited a lot from the factional battles of the ANC and during that time it renewed itself, hence their figures are going up and I think they will be the opposition,” Mngomezulu said, adding that the Indian vote would also benefit the party as it is seen to be accommodating minorities.

While analysts were making predictions, the parties were yesterday engaged in last-minute push for votes.

The ANC was the most visible in the province, hosting several mini rallies in Empangeni, Umzimkhulu, Camperdown and Durban.

ANC spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said, based on the hard work during the campaign, the party was going to win the province.

“We don’t have a shred of doubt that the ANC will win after it was well received by the masses during its campaign,” she said.

DA premier candidate in KZN Zwakele Mncwango was confident of winning. He is expected to wrap up the party’s campaign today in uMlazi and Isipingo, south of Durban.

“We cannot rest when our people need us the most. The feedback has been shocking with people telling us they drink dirty water from the stream where cows and donkeys also drink from,” he said.

The IFP will hold its last campaign at Ondini in Zululand today.

The party’s premier candidate Velenkosini Hlabisa, said he was happy with the campaign and said the IFP had been given a warm welcome across the province.

“The reception was overwhelming with young people showing a lot of support to our manifesto. But it will also depend on the people of KZN, if they want a stable economy and a better life. People have grown tired of empty rhetoric, but they want action,” Hlabisa said.

EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza said his party was ready to take over KZN. Today the EFF is expected to hold its main rally at Orlando stadium. Khoza said the campaign was focused on the issues affecting the youth.

Sunday Tribune