Elections 2019: the Goldilocks scenario for business
Most businesses and investors are hoping for a strong ANC majority, says Dirk Kotzé
Most businesses and investors are hoping for a strong ANC majority to make the hard decisions necessary to restore confidence in SA, according to a leading political commentator at a recent Investec for Intermediaries event.
Talking to Investec Focus Radio in a podcast hosted by Investec for Intermediaries, Dirk Kotzé, a professor in political sciences at the University of South Africa, said: “I think most people want to see a strong ANC with a clear majority, so they don’t have to work with coalitions. There should not be any questions about who’s the government, who’s the decision maker and who are the policymakers.”
Listen to the podcast | The Goldilocks scenario of business
Kotzé says this will give the go-ahead for the ANC to start to implement its policies and take difficult but necessary decisions about fiscal policy, state-owned enterprises (specifically Eskom) and land ownership.
On the latter issue, Kotzé says the ANC will need to move quickly after the elections to provide clarity on its land policy to quell attacks from the opposition. “Then it’s no longer a question about whether they have a mandate or not, but rather about how to implement it.”
Election will mark 'transition' for parties
“I think this election is, for many parties, actually a type of transition. For the ANC, it’s the post-Zuma era. For the DA, it’s about how Mmusi Maimane’s leadership is affecting changes within the DA, and the way in which the DA is trying to move away from a mainly Western Cape power base.”
For the EFF, it’s important to grow its reach, he says. “The EFF needs to expand beyond Gauteng, because in a sense they are over-concentrated and need to develop more of a national presence.”
The EFF is also mostly defined by the land issue and this election will show whether voters will give it the mandate.
Hot-button issues that will swing the vote
The economy and the quality of governance will be top of mind for voters at the polls, says Kotzé, who adds that it’s not corruption itself that will influence voters, but its impact on the delivery of housing, infrastructure and local services.
Kotzé highlights three demographic and regional hurdles that all parties will face in this election:
- The poor youth turnout
With the youth constituting the majority of the South African population, Kotzé says that it’s worrying that for this election, only 18% of all eligible voters in the 18-20 age category have registered to vote.
- Urban support base
Two-thirds of the population now live in urban areas – good news for parties like the DA that are stronger in the cities, but a potential issue for parties such as the EFF and the ANC who get the rural vote.
- The battle for Gauteng
“Gauteng is the province that contributes the most votes to the DA, the EFF and the Freedom Front Plus, and the second most votes to the ANC. So Gauteng is a concentration point,” says Kotzé.
One of the revelations to come from the election results will be whether President Cyril Ramaphosa can bring ANC support back towards the 60% mark.
“What is clear, from several opinion polls, is that he is actually more popular than the ANC. But the downside of this situation is that the voters are not going to vote for him individually. It’s a parliamentary election,” says Kotzé. “His mere presence can play a role, though. Some people, even non-ANC supporters, will see him as the person to lead SA out of the current situation.”
He adds: “The election is not going to clarify policy uncertainties. The clarification will come afterwards.”
This article was paid for by Investec.