Gauteng premier David Makhura is confident the governing party will retain its grip on the province. Picture: WIKUS DE WET / AFP
Gauteng premier David Makhura is confident the governing party will retain its grip on the province. Picture: WIKUS DE WET / AFP

Gauteng is one of the election’s hotly contested provinces, with the DA hoping to unseat the ANC, but ANC Gauteng chair David Makhura is confident the voter turnout in the townships will ensure the party’s support exceeds the 54% it received in the last general elections. 

He is also “very confident” that despite projections by some pollsters to the contrary, the ANC will receive more than 60% of the national vote.

“The work we have done on the campaign has given us the confidence that we are going to get very, very good voter turnout, especially in the townships across Gauteng. Those are the people who stayed away in 2016 and 2014 because they were very unhappy, they were very unhappy with the ANC,” he said. 

The ANC held its final rally ahead of Wednesday’s poll at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The ANC’s support in elections since 2009 declined consistently under the leadership of former president Jacob Zuma. 

In 2014, the ANC’s support in Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, decreased from 64.04% in 2009 to 53.59%.

In the 2016 local government elections, the party lost control of the province’s metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane as its core support base from the townships did not come out on election day. 

The party’s support in Gauteng dropped further to 45.84% in 2016. 

Makhura said the ANC had done its work on the ground and is confident that besides retaining power in Gauteng it will get over 60% at national level.

“This story [of the ANC getting] below 60%, we don’t believe that. The ANC will comfortably get above 60% on a national level, we are very confident.”

A recent poll by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) showed that the ANC could be in trouble, with its majority dropping to 49.5%. However, when modelled on a 71% turnout of voters on May 8 — a scenario considered plausible as not everyone will vote — the ANC reaches 51%. 

The IRR’s poll varied enormously from that conducted by market research agency Ipsos, which showed that the ANC stood at 56.9%. The Ipsos poll also found that the governing party could get 61% if there is a 71% turnout.

Makhura said people were confident that since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president at Nasrec in 2017, steps were being taken to pick up the economy, clean up the government and fix state institutions. 

He said people were no longer “as gloomy” about the economy.

“The thing that is very obvious to people is the fact that the president is leading on that front to raise levels of investment and create jobs. Jobs — outside the issues of corruption and mismanagement of state institutions — is the number one issue,” Makhura said.

The ANC provincial chair, who is also the premier of Gauteng, said the party is looking to govern Gauteng with an outright majority and not a coalition.

He said people in the townships were angry with the way municipalities are being run by the DA-led coalition. 

“It is a mood of anger in the townships. Initially they were blaming the ANC but then we explained that we are not the government in Tshwane and Joburg. Even in the suburbs people are not happy about the level of service,” Makhura said. 

The DA is hoping to bring the ANC below 50% in Gauteng, which would mean the province will be run by a coalition government or a minority government. 

In 2016, the DA won the metros after the EFF voted to help install their mayors in Johannesburg and Tshwane. 

In the run-up to this election, however, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party will not work with the DA again, but would consider working with the ANC depending on what is put on the table. 

Makhura said coalitions did not work. “You can’t make decisive decisions, watching your back all the time, compromise on principles, give positions and then your electorate is not happy. That is why we want a full mandate.”