Ramaphosa, Zuma today in KZN

Henry

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, are expected to address two different election rallies in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.

The ruling ANC is going to fight an uphill battle to retain its majority in parliament, but also in this province, Zuma’s home province.

“Zuma represents the single greatest threat to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Zakhele Ndlovu, a lecturer in politics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

The battle between the two leaders will be held in public on Saturday, when the ANC expects around 85,000 supporters at a football stadium in Durban for the launch of its election manifesto.

Zuma’s meeting takes place about an hour away at a country club in Scottburgh.

KwaZulu-Natal has the largest ANC membership, but the party is already under pressure from the Democratic Alliance and its partner, the Inkatha Freedom Party.

“If the ANC does not do well in KwaZulu-Natal, it will not do well nationally,” said Susan Booysen, a political analyst for the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Thinking.

According to polls, the party could possibly get as little as 40% in the national election. This means that the ANC must pursue a coalition government to remain in power. Due to budget constraints, Ramaphosa is unlikely to make any major election promises, analysts say.

He is expected to brag about the ANC’s history rather than the liberation movement that brought democracy to South Africa and lifted many out of poverty.

Booysen says access to health care and social welfare grants remains an attraction for a large part of the voters.

“The ANC’s biggest job will be to, despite all the other problems and its own decline, present itself as a big, strong party that can really make a difference.”

Supporters are also expected to hear promises about load shedding, crime and job creation.

“The ANC no longer has slogans,” said Xolani Dube, a political analyst at the Xubera Institute.

Zuma and the MK party

Zuma is expected to rely on his charisma to attract voters to vote for his new radical Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) party.

The party, named after the ANC’s former armed wing, does not have any significant policy differences from the ruling party.

Despite scandals and corruption allegations, the 81-year-old veteran remains very popular in his home province.

According to the Social Research Foundation, he still carries more than 60% of voters’ approval. MK can possibly establish 20% of the votes in the province on him, according to the survey.

“He is a magnet for people who have become alienated from the ANC,” added Booysen. “Party supporters do not feel completely disloyal if they vote for Zuma, but know that it will punish the ANC.”

Nationwide, less than 30% of voters view Zuma in a favorable light.

South African citizens will draw their crosses in the national and provincial elections on 29 May 2024. The president declared the day a public holiday. More than 27 million people have already registered to vote, according to the Independent Electoral Commission.