The 2016 South African municipal elections are scheduled for 3 August. The City of Tshwane is a highly contested metro, and the upcoming elections could bring about a change in leadership. There will be a definite change in the mayor of the city as incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa of the ANC has been replaced by a new candidate, Thoko Didiza. The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be represented by a member of the provincial legislature Solly Msimanga as a mayoral candidate, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are pursuing a different election strategy and is not putting forward a mayoral candidate. Perdeby takes a look at what these three parties have to offer in terms of mayoral candidates and governance as elections are around the corner.
ANC mayoral candidate Thoko Didiza is originally from Durban and held the post of Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs from July 1999 to May 2006, after which she held the position of Minister of Public Works from May 2006 to September 2008. After Didiza was announced as the ANC’s mayoral candidate for the City of Tshwane in June, riots broke out which lead to the deaths of five people. Many objections were raised by protesters, some of whom wanted incumbent mayor Ramokgopa to remain as the ANC candidate for the election, while others opposed Didiza as she is not originally from the Tshwane area. Some of Didiza’s plans for the city include building a reservoir in Hammanskraal to increase the delivery of water, expanding the reach of WiFi services in the city, and expanding bus services to ensure that the services cover the whole city.
DA mayoral candidate Solly Msimanga was born in Pretoria and was elected as a City of Tshwane councillor from 2011 to 2014. He is currently a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature and is the chairperson of the Gauteng branch of the DA. If elected as mayor, Msimanga plans to enact changes in the city in line with the DA’s manifesto. Some of these changes include creating job centres across the city and establishing small business support offices in areas such as Soshanguve, Hammanskraal, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville. Msimanga has said that, as mayor, he would seek to establish an internship programme in the city to help matriculants and graduates gain workplace experience in the government, increase the budget to assist the youth in finding employment, and implement an e-portal to help residents pay rates and tariffs online, as well as complete license applications and renewals.
The EFF is following a different electoral strategy in the upcoming elections and will not be putting forward any mayoral candidates. Instead, the EFF seems to be contesting individual wards in the city. Earlier in the year EFF leader Julius Malema said that the EFF would contest all wards in the upcoming municipal elections. The EFF has not ruled out the possibility of coalition governance, in the event that the ruling party does not receive 50% of the votes. Should the EFF win Tshwane, they have said that they would implement some of the policies that the ANC had failed to implement and would additionally address the housing backlog in Tshwane. The EFF also pledged free water and electricity to those living in RDP houses and receiving government grants.
According to a poll run by eNCA in conjunction with research group Ipsos South Africa on 6 and 7 June, 28% of those surveyed in the city of Tshwane said that they would vote for the ANC, while 33% said they would vote for the DA. 10% of those surveyed said that they would vote for the EFF, while 17% said that they were uncertain as to who they would vote for or would not say who they would vote for. The poll results showed slight changes over time. Over a period of six weeks the poll results saw the DA gain an increase to 39%, while the ANC saw a loss of support, going down to 25%. The EFF saw a slight increase in support with 13% of those surveyed now saying that they would vote for the EFF, while 13% remained undecided or would not say who they would vote for.
The youth of Tshwane have shown a slightly different sentiment. According to the latest available poll results, those between 18 and 24 show the greatest interest in voting for either the DA or the ANC, with approximately 30% of the youth saying that they would vote for the DA and approximately 30% of the youth saying they would vote for the ANC. The EFF maintained a similar level of popularity among the youth as they did among voters as a whole, with approximately 13% of the youth saying that they would vote for the EFF, while approximately 11% remain undecided.
Image: Shen Scott