Johannesburg – With the national election just days away, political parties are squeezing in some final electioneering as Gauteng and the Western Cape are emerging as the provinces up for grabs.
In Gauteng, a cheeky campaign by the DA on Thursday night saw the opposition party take their campaign message to the ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House.
A digital billboard projected a message on the full length of the building that read: “The ANC is dead. We need change that stops corruption and puts a job in every home. Vote DA 8 May”.
In response, the ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, accused the DA of being childish. The billboard message is what the DA hopes will help them win over the black middle class, in their effort to claim Gauteng.
Pollster David Everatt, of Wits University, writing in The Conversation, predicted that the ANC would scrape through with a victory of between 53% and 56%.
Such a narrow victory, analysts believe, might have a negative effect on the province’s economy.
A clear majority for the ANC in Gauteng, the richest province and the country’s economic hub, would be a positive for equity investors by removing the need for a potentially unstable coalition government in the region, said Arthur Kamp, economist at Sanlam Investments, which oversees more than R400 billion.
A sell-off could ensue if the ANC fails to win decisively, or if President Cyril Ramaphosa proves unable to consolidate power within the party, according to Warwick Bam, head of research at Avior Capital Markets in Cape Town.
In his “worst-case scenario,” the ANC’s majority falls below 55% and the far-left EFF wins more than 12% of the vote. Such a result could also spur social unrest and hurt consumer and business confidence as South Africans would expect limited political reforms and a lack of accountability for corruption experienced in the past decade, he said.
Money managers and analysts have said a strong showing for the ANC, potentially exceeding 60% of the vote, should boost stocks by strengthening Ramaphosa’s ability to drive improvements in Africa’s most industrialised economy. But opinion polls show differing pictures of ANC support, ranging from 51% to 61%.
A decisive victory would empower Ramaphosa’s pro-business agenda, including releasing spectrum to the telecommunications sector, said Warwick Bam, head of research at Avior Capital Markets. A less-restrictive visa policy for visitors would spur tourism earnings, while clearer policy on the thorny land expropriation question would improve investment in agricultural production.
“Food producers, food retailers, consumer staples, apparel retailers and hospitality, will benefit the most from the increased consumer confidence,” Bam said, followed by banks and insurers. Industrial, construction and cement companies may see a delayed benefit as money flows into projects in the next one to two years, he said.
A resounding ANC victory would trigger a rally in South African assets, Colin Coleman, head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said in a Bloomberg Television interview this week.
If the ANC reaches the 60% mark, “then the market will be very bullish,” according to Coleman. Anything below that level would limit Ramaphosa’s ability to make the changes he wants, he said.
In an effort to win back the Western Cape, Ramaphosa yesterday was canvassing for votes in Mitchell’s Plain.
“We are filled with hope and confidence that the ANC will be victorious,” said Ramaphosa to much applause from the dwindling crowd in the Portland Indoor Centre.
A poll released by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) this week, suggested that the DA’s support level had dropped to 44.6% in the Western Cape.
“There is a chance of a coalition scenario in the Western Cape, post-election,” the IRR stated.
Meanwhile, even in the ANC heartland province of KwaZulu-Natal, there was a last-minute scramble for votes. Yesterday, former president Jacob Zuma, and controversial ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, were together on the campaign trail in Lamontville.
This as the DA on Friday handed over a dossier that they called an “evidence pack” to the National Prosecuting Authority. This, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said, proved the secretary-general’s criminality.
Today Ramaphosa is expected to be in KZN, where he too is expected to do his part to convince undecided voters.
The Saturday Star