South Africa: Smaller Parties Eye Coalition Prospects

Voting day in the 2014 general election, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Smaller parties are determined to cause an upset on Wednesday, even more so when it comes to provincial votes, and it places them in a good position for a coalition.

The latest South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) poll and Ipsos "Pulse of the People" study suggest that smaller parties are likely to remain steady or drop in numbers.

On Monday, the IRR's Gareth van Onselen released the institute's latest projection from its seven-day research. It found that in the Western Cape, where the ACDP enjoys its biggest support, it was effectively squeezed out by the DA, with its support dropping down from 7% on a lower voter turnout.

The IRR projections also suggest that the ACDP's support in the coloured communities of the Western Cape dropped from 12% to 3%.

ACDP Gauteng leader Dulton Adams has disputed these numbers, placing his trust in Christian voters.

Adams said the party changed its campaign strategy and focused on "fishing votes from churches". Adams said the party was confident it would make some inroads in the Gauteng and Western Cape provinces.

The rise of ATM could cause an upset

The emergence of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), which has a strong base in the Christian church, is poised by some in political circles to cause an upset in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.

A senior ANC leader in the Eastern Cape said the party projected that at least 4% of its vote would be scooped up by the ATM.

The senior leader blamed this on former senior ANC and DA officials who defected to the new party. An Eastern Cape political heavyweight who found a new home with the ATM was former DA MPL Veliswa Mvenya.

Mvenya and former ANC MEC Thandiswa Marawu are expected to use their political influence to target primary DA and ANC voters.

"We expect the DA to take no more 6% of the ANC vote and the new ATM will most likely gain 4% at best from our provincial numbers. The ATM's strong base in the churches will play in their favour, especially in our rural province. While we are aware these parties will play a small part in the elections, we don't expect any major upsets," the ANC leader told News24.

ATM leader Mzwanele Manyi said the party was assured of seven million votes, based on its following from the SA Council of Messianic Churches in Christ.

"If we look at churches that pledge support, we are sure of seven million votes. We also signed up about 200 odd churches as well. Those are huge numbers."

Manyi added that the party's two strongest provinces were KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

"We will take the Eastern Cape with a comfortable margin, with 70%. We are also strong in KwaZulu-Natal."

Manyi said parties who could not register with the SA Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) pledged support for the ATM.

FF Plus remains a player in the Western Cape

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald expects the party to take a fraction of the white minority vote from the DA.

Both the IRR and Ipsos polls pointed to a marginal rise from the FF Plus.

The IRR poll research found that the party could rise from 4.3% to 5% on a 71.1% voter turnout.

However, the Ipsos poll based on the same voter turnout predicts that Groenewald's party should only receive 1% of the overall votes.

Ipsos also suggests smaller parties will receive only 3.02% in votes on Wednesday.

Groenewald said their research predicted a 5% growth from its 0.90% in the last general elections in 2014.

"I think the FF Plus is going to do well. The feedback has been great and what I can say is that the difference between this and the previous elections is that in those elections, there was a slight decline in support in the last days due to the rise of the DA. What we have noticed now, especially from the white minority voter, is that voters are changing their views."

Groenewald said he has also seen a major shift away from the ACDP in the Western Cape.

"The ACDP has historically enjoyed more support in the Western Cape and the change in the tide is in our favour. We expect we will take away some of their number as well."

Source: News24

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