A recent poll has found that Thabo Mbeki’s popularity has dropped to a 53% approval rating, 8% lower than when it was six months ago. Now while such a statistic is almost useless as we don’t directly elect the President it is interesting to note that despite the decline in Mbeki’s rating, the ANC’s popularity only dropped a minuscule 1.7% to 66.3%.
This highlights the fact that the majority of voters still see the ANC as the only viable option for government, despite the sheer volume of bad press over leadership squabbles, scandals and bad governance that seems to emanate from them. Opposition parties, particularly the DA (down 1.1%, which hurts a lot more when you only had 10% popularity), the ACDP and IFP (remaining constant at 3.3% and 2.4% respectively) have so far failed to capitalise on any voter dissatisfaction with the ANC.
Despite me chaving previously called the tripartite alliance a thing of the past it continues to persist despite visible and widening rifts between the ANC, COSATU and SACP. That might be due to the fact (probably well known to all three players) that should SACP/COSATU split, the ANC will still get 60% of the vote.
Now those of you fearing a Zuma lead COSATU/SACP presidency can breathe a bit easier however this highlights a problem trend with the electorate of SA. Despite there being major grievances with the performance of government. people are still reluctant to vote for anyone else, preferring to show their displeasure not via the ballot box but with street protests.
Now this actually suits the ANC. Sure they get some bad press with protestors wailing on about no service delivery, but at the end of the day they are still in power.
- Western Cape ID leader Simon Grindrod gets into a shouting match with AMP councillor Badih Chaaban. As they are both mature politicians, cooler heads prevail… and they both lay criminal charges against each other.
- IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam possibly disqualifies herself from overseeing national elections by stating she hopes the next president of SA is a woman.
- Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad remembers that maybe he did meet with French arms company Thomson CSF prior to Thomson (now Thint) winning a large chunk of change in the multi billion dollar arms deal, although he remembers nothing about the meeting.
The DA is starting a 10 day campaign today to draw attention to the Oilgate scandal, which saw BEE company Imvume donate R11 million of the R15 million it was given to buy oil condensate to the ANC prior to the 2004 elections (the donation also bankrupted the company and caused PetroSA, who would have bought the condensate, to pay twice for the same product from it’s suppliers).
To date there has been no inquiry, no resignations and no consequences over what seems to be some highly irregular goings on. Each day the DA is going to release a new statement pertaining to a certain aspect of the scandal and they’re kicking it off today with a statement over the lack of a commission of enquiry.Over the next nine days the following will be subjects of the next nine statements:
- The Promotion of Access to Information Act
- The ANC
- The Minerals and Energy portfolio committee
- SCOPA and the Auditor-General
- The Public Protector
- The Director-General in the Presidency
- The National Prosecuting Authority
- The Deputy President
With all the focus on the past week being on the Zuma/ANC/SACP fracas we’ve neglected local politics. The most interesting story is the Ward 82 municipal by-election in Tafelsig that takes place tomorrow. Tafelsig was won by the ID in the municipal elections in March but after they sided with the ANC in the mayoral vote the ID candidate Sheval Arendse resigned and joined the DA (I assume out of protest) for whom he is now contesting the ward. If the DA win this ward they will double their lead (to a massive two votes) but more importantly this vote will demonstrate whether ID voters will continue to support the ID following their siding with the ANC.
Update: The DA won with nearly 70% of the vote compared to the ID’s 30%. Considering the ANC did not run in order to give more support to the ID this is not a good sign for Patricia De Lille. I wonder if she’ll suddenly veer away from the ANC when it’s clear that the impression the ID is making from siding with the ANC in certain votes is not going down with ID voters.
The SACP are once again floating the idea that they might decide to go it alone in the next national elections. They will only make a firm decision at their 12th Congress in July 2007 leaving us waiting for a year to make up their minds.
At this point I would like to quote one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers:
No…try not. Do or do not. There is no try
DA leader Tony Leon, who was also in Mitchell’s Plain, said that at this stage in South Africa, it was “something of a triumph” that his MPs had escaped unscathed.
I guess being able to walk through townships without getting chairs thrown at them is making some progress. Next milestone: walking through Gugulethu and only encountering mild verbal abuse.
Baby steps Tony, baby steps.
- Okay Zuma going to visit Gadaffi was a bit strange but now it seems the SACP and COSATU visited the day before in order to butter up the Libyan strongman for a donation. The ANC isn’t liking that at all.
- Submissions to the African Peer Review Mechanism indicate the growing dissatisfaction with the electoral party system and political party financing.
- And lastly the Boeremag escapees are still on the run. Have the police searched the local strip joint?
Well it was tight right up to the wire but it looks like Helen Zille is the new mayor of Cape Town.
She received 106 votes and the ex-mayor Nomainda Mefeketo received 103. That’s a very slim margin of victory and one that will look even more slim when the next floor crossing window opens.
In the meantime the DA are going to have to do all they possibly can to get some national attention on their achievements in local government in Cape Town. So the Honourable Mayor Zille if you’re listening you need to:
- Sort the power question out. I expect nothing less than you giving Eskom CEO Thulani Gcabashe a major migraine everytime he sees your number on caller ID.
- Get public transport going. Golden Arrow’s bus service is hardly public transport. Metrorail is falling to pieces. Travelling from areas such as Parklands and Durbanville in rush hour traffic is slow torture.
- Get a decent city manager. Wallace Mgoqi has shown he can’t handle it. The aborted jewellery district. Obviously fronted BEE parking companies winning city contracts. N2 gateway housing stalling. The list is embarassingly long.
Do all that and you should be fine…
Update: According to the voting patterns, and DA Mal pretty much confirms it, the ID and ANC are voting together. That might be bad news to De Lille if it causes her voters to question voting ID as an alternate opposition.
Update: Grindrod loses deputy role by one vote – That’s got to sting. The ID have gone from “kingmaker” to needing a “regmaker”. However this minority part alliance is in my opinion very very shaky. While the DA has won the vote for electing officials they could still lose numerous other votes that come before this council.
Speaking in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, she said…
Finally! Someone at the DA is listening to my constant harping about making speeches in Xhosa/Zulu/Sotho. Now get Tony Leon into Xhosa Intesive 101 stat!
But seriously, if this is true the DA must be sweating bullets. They will have been made to look like complete idiots, will have potentially lost the only avenue to demonstrate to voters their value and the local elections will in actual fact have turned out to be a shambles for them.
The ID are going to leave a few of their supporters scratching their heads though.
The Cape Town council will convene tomorrow to elect the new mayor.