Party crasher: Cyril is more popular than the ANC
South Africans backed Ramaphosa on the national ballot but snubbed the ANC in the provincial vote
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s popularity appears to have saved the ANC as some voters split their votes, choosing him in the national ballot but snubbing his party in the provincial vote.
A trend in which voters split their national and provincial votes, in support of Ramaphosa nationally, emerged in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, with more than half of all voting districts declared by Thursday night.
By 6.30pm, the ANC was set to retain control of the national government as it was hovering around 56%, with about half the votes having been counted. The DA had just more than 22%, while the EFF had just under 10%. The Freedom Front Plus was a surprise fourth place, amassing more than 200,000 votes.
In Gauteng and the Western Cape – with more than 50% of all voting districts tallied and declared – the ANC received 3% more support on the national ballots than on the provincial ballots. In KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, the ANC got more than 1% more support on the national ballot compared with the provincial ballot.
The results are in line with the results of an internal ANC survey made public ahead of the elections, which found that Ramaphosa was more popular than the party among voters.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said the voting patterns were not surprising since the ANC was aware of Ramaphosa’s popularity.
“The positive mood around our president and the New Dawn is reflected in the votes in which people give Ramaphosa more votes at national for the ANC.”
He said some voters snubbed the party on the provincial ballot because of the perceptions that some of their leaders were involved in corruption.
“There are a whole lot of challenges that we have faced in different provinces, organisationally, which implicated on the perceptions broadly in society that we are more about ourselves and our families. From one province to the other, we will make up our minds about those numbers probably by Monday ... but if you pick up the trend, that could be the factors,” he said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe agreed: “The public standing of President Ramaphosa and his own appeal to the broader specrum of the electorates was one key determining factor towards the ANC driving a campaign that will be able to inspire the hope of our people.”
DA federal chairperson James Selfe said they were aware of the trend.
“There’s that phenomenon, we want to know how widespread it is. We will do our own analysis,” Selfe said.
Political analyst Ralf Mathekga said: “The process of splitting the vote is a very complex phenomenon. It could be the case that a very educated group of people who we call the middle class are the ones that might have voted that way.”
He added: “It essentially means the president has more approval than the party.”
Political analyst Angelo Fick said: “This is where they (voters) believe one party is good for the national government and they want to see a change, or signal a warning to that party at provincial level.” – additional reporting by Kgothatso Madisa