There is much speculation about the scenarios that could play out nationally and in the various provinces come the 2019 elections. But about Gauteng it is possible to be fairly concrete: it is going to be extremely close, and there is a realistic chance that the opposition could win control from the ANC.

The performance of three parties — the ANC, the DA and the EFF — will be defining. If it comes down to the wire, a bloc of seven smaller parties, individually or collectively, could determine the nature of the final provincial government. Of these parties, the EFF is perhaps the biggest enigma. While trends over time demonstrate that the ANC is declining in Gauteng and, conversely, that the DA is growing, it is difficult to say exactly how and in which direction the EFF is moving, because it has stood in only one round of national elections. Its final performance in 2019 is likely to be all important. With regard to the ANC, its support in Gauteng, in absolute numbers, has remained relatively stable. In the four provincial elections since 1999, the number of votes it has secured in each is as follows: 2.48m (1999); 2.33m (2004); 2.66m; (2009) and 2.38m (2014). That is an average of 2.44m votes, and there has been no significant fluctuation (the range has been just 330,892 votes). It...

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