ANC looks set to lose official opposition status in Western Cape

The African National Congress (ANC) can kiss goodbye its status as the official opposition to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape legislature, if early election results trends continue in the province.

As of 11AM on Thursday, 20.87% of voting districts (328 of 1 572) had been tallied. And although the ANC sits in second-place (48,291 votes) behind the DA (127,433 votes), the Patriotic Alliance is in third at 31,243 – ahead of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in fourth at 9 754.

There is some way to go before the vote can be called definitively but the ANC currently sits significantly below its 2019 total of 28.63% (589,055 votes) and its 2014 total of (32.89%).

ANC, say goodbye to Western Cape

With the provincial newcomers, the PA, making traction (currently 12.6%) and first-timers Cape Coloured Congress currently sitting at 2.56%, it seems the ANC’s hopes of winning back the Western Cape have been dashed, with eNCA’s election analyst Wayne Sussman declaring the DA early as victors.

“The Democratic Alliance will retain its majority in the Western Cape and their premier, Alan Winde, will lead that province for the next five years. They have won an outright majority and will govern alone,” Sussman said at 9AM on Thursday.

The ANC last governed the Western Cape, albeit narrowly, in 2008 with Lynne Brown being the premier, after Ebrahim Rasool had filled the role since 2005.

Al Jama-ah silently creeping up

Interestingly, Al Jama-ah sits currently at 1.46%, already surpassing its total voter share of 0.86% in 2019. The Muslim party had earlier predicted a good performance in this year’s elections, with party leader Ganief Hendricks predicting 10 seats nationally.

The party also predicted a bump by snatching Muslim voters from the DA.

In March this year, political analyst Melanie Verwoerd told The South African that the DA’s stance on the Palestine-Israel war could lead to them haemorrhaging the Muslim vote come 29 May, meaning Al Jama-ah could gain handsomely.

Verwoerd says with Western Cape being home to South Africa’s biggest Muslim population – 6.6% of the province’s total – other political parties, particularly Al Jama-ah, could take Muslim votes that could have gone to the DA. And as per Project on Middle East Political Science, Muslims account for approximately 2% of South Africa’s population. It is unclear how many of those are registered voters.

“That [DA’s support for Israel] leaves opportunities for other parties; the ANC will probably get some votes, and Al Jama-ah might get some. And the other parties as well,” Verwoerd said.

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