MK-EFF “reverse take-over” of the ANC possible…

A “reverse take-over” of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) by former President Jacob Zuma’s increasingly popular MK party and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is “emerging as a possibility”. So says Ray Hartley, the Research Director of The Brenthurst Foundation. He speaks to BizNews following the release of the foundation’s Survey of South African Voter Opinion. According to that survey, MK will rake in 13% of the vote in the upcoming National Election and the EFF will get 10%, while the ANC will be down to 39%, and the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) up to 27%. In this Interview, Hartley looks at the possible coalition formations that could result, and describes how that would determine the trajectory of the country. He also points out that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) faces a “really difficult situation” – and warns that if it excludes the MK Party, “there’s going to be chaos, certainly in KwaZulu-Natal, and possibly elsewhere”.Chris Steyn

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Timestamps below

00:00 – Introduction 

00:21 – Ray Hartley on how the political parties fared in the Brenthurst polls

01:02 – What does the MK party’s soaring popularity mean for the elections

02:19 – Is the MK party’s popularity because of Zuma

04:30 – Will the MK and the EFF form a bloc and do a reverse takeover of the ANC

06:11 – The ramifications of each party for the country

08:15 – Is the DA an option for the ANC

12:18 – On criticism towards the polls

13:32 – Conclusions


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Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

The possible formation of a block between MK and the EFF to do a reverse takeover of the ANC?

Yes…I think the EFF is going to be pretty shocked at the result, the fact that this MK party has arrived on the scene and is now larger than them on the national stage. So nationally MK has 13% and EFF has 10%. So…they’re going to be asking themselves, how do we navigate this environment because actually the policies and the politics and so on are not very different …there’s not much to distinguish the MK party from the EFF. And…it’s all in the big radical economic transformation kind of bubble. 

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The ANC’s choice of a coalition partner:

So the ANC…dropping to 39 % has a choice that it has to make. Who is it going to partner with to stay in government? So the options really are now pretty clear…it’s either you’re going to go with your former ANC colleagues, that’s Zuma and Malema, and form a sort of populist kind of front of some kind, or you’re going to see the ANC pivot towards the center. And there you have the DA and IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party) and ActionSA and so on. 

Read more: “Vote like your life depends on it” to avoid “ANC, EFF, MK Doomsday Coalition”: Steenhuisen at BNC#6

The ramifications of the ANC’s choice:

And I think the choice that’s made there will be pretty profound for South Africa…And essentially the ugly scenario is this populist drift. …I think with Zuma and Malema, if the ANC goes with them in a coalition, they will extract a high price and it might even be Ramaphosa’s head…Both (EFF CIC Julius) Malema and Zuma are very anti-Ramaphosa. And there are those within the ANC like (Deputy President Paul) Mashatile and so on who’ve been talking about an alliance with the EFF. I’m not sure what he has to say about Zuma. So the possibility then that the ANC might change horses at the top comes into the picture. And I think the ramifications are…that you’ll have a lot of national deal making. So you’ll have this populist front at the national level. And the trade off will be that Zuma would get the premiership in KwaZulu-Natal. So I think that’s quite a likely outcome…So, the trade-off will be, Zuma gets the Kwa-Zulu-Natal premiership, the ANC goes over the line nationally and the EFF also gets some sort of payback at national level.

What about the DA option for the ANC? 

It’s interesting because…on Ramaphosa’s kind of policies…he’s been woeful at implementation. And that’s why we’ve had this load shedding and water crisis and all of these things happening. But the actual policies themselves, if you look at them, are not really that far from parties like the DA and the IFP and Action SA. I mean, essentially calling in the private sector to help with energy generation, and infrastructure, reinvestment, environment, et cetera, and…getting foreign investors in and understanding that the impetus for jobs is going to come out of the private sector, not government. All of those things they have in common. The real problem, I think…is really partly of the ANC’s own creation because it has for years tried to fight the DA using its essentially traditional stereotyping, calling it a white party, et cetera, et cetera. And this kind of pigeon-holed it as a sort of old-style white party trying to get back to Apartheid…becomes now an obstacle for them when they need to form an alliance because it will look like hypocrisy, and so on, and will alienate maybe some of their constituents. So that’s the difficulty. The politics is very complicated for both sides actually…it’s a difficult environment for the ANC whichever way it goes.

For the country, I think there’s no question that moving into the centre rather than going for this kind of nationalisation type of populism that Zuma and Malema would like is much better in our view for the country.

Read more: South Africa’s democracy faces scrutiny amid ANC’s controversial choices

A coalition government looks certain:

Yeah, I think very likely…there’s always the question of will the ANC still claw its way back and so on. But now there are a number of polls showing them in the very low 40s or even in the 30s like ours did at 39. So it looks inevitable a coalition government. Their support is weak in major centres…KZN is significant because of the volume of voters that are there. So if you lose 5% in the province, it’s quite a big loss on the national stage because it’s a very populous province. So this is going to make it really hard for them to come back. 

“Now, I think they do have a formidable election machine and it will no doubt kick in and no doubt is very well funded. Not sure all of the funding is made public, but…they will put up a fight and they might claw their way back, but it’s probably going to be the mid -45s. So South Africa is going to enter a new era of coalition government.”

Meanwhile, there has been some criticism of the Brenthurst poll. Some people feel it is very “optimistic”. And According to an informal poll of about 4000 people  conducted over siz months by Sven, Kuda and USiya at Kela Securities the ANC is expected to achieve 42% of the vote, the DA 19, the EFF 13, and the IFP 7, and MK 4.

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