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Oudtshoorn. 17 October 2012. 21h30. The government of the day is most always at a disadvantage in a by-election.
That is because people can vote without considering the advantages or disadvantages of a change of government. It’s not such a big deal as is a general election. That is also, by the way, why fewer people by and large, vote in a by-election than the number voting in a general election.
A by-election is a safe way to show dissent – and everybody needs to show some dissent from time to time.
A by-election is like a laboratory test. An event that, even if it goes horribly wrong, does not have the pith to really change the satus quo.
Bitou Ward 2 in Plettenberg Bay on December 5, 2012, will be different.
18 May 2011 was a choice between the anti-Zuma and the anti-Zille factions in South Africa. “Discerning” voters, as opposed to “obtuse” ones living in Boksburg or Seshego, voted either to keep Zille, or Zuma, at bay.
In Ward 2 in Bitou, some 18 months ago, 2,837 out of 2,981 people voted to ensure that not all wards go to the ANC. The ANC got only 95 votes in ward 2. Only 95. 95 only. 95.
The DA “saved” 2 wards (1 and 2) from the clutches of the ANC. The ANC took the other 5. The DA showing secured 4 proportional seats against the ANC’s 1 and Cope got the balance of power on the back of a measly 356 votes: 6-6-1 became 6-7 for the DA.
At this time many people in Ward 2 are at least somewhat disillusioned with the ruling DA/Cope coalition. They would have been disenchanted even if the DA ruled perfectly – which no party or individual can do in any event. It’s just the way people are; they want to ‘show” those in power. And a by-election, as I have said, is the ideal opportunity to show that dissent.
With one of several aspirants to be installed as the independent candidate next week, and the brave “recall” option the talk of political commentators already, the DA’s current offering is pretty much Bonnistein to the Independent Moët.
And so the strong Nat residual within the DA is taking a leaf out of PW’s text book: If all else fails, and it has… Scare the living daylights out of them.
Rooi gevaar; swart gevaar; Chuck Norris op tik; ANC-oorheersing; noem maar op: Stem veilig!
Now if I was managing the DA campaign – there’s a vivid thought – I would do everything possible to convince the ANC to stand in Ward 2.
Right now a vote for an independent candidate is a safe option, responsible as it is nontheless. The expectation is that any of the front runners – Francois Geldenhuys and Johann Brummer – will be an exciting option; a sexy option; an option that shows the “Ward two-ers” are forward thinking “metropolitists”. Independent is an easy sell at this time. Especially as some dreary die hard DA’s are bemoaning the “irresponsibility” of a vote for anything but the DA. Remember, people need to “show” those in power.
However… it all changes from vanilla to red hot chili if the ANC enters the race. The excitement of change will be traded for the tedium of safety: DA, to keep the ANC in check, rather than Independent to give Plett wings.
The ANC wants to enter the race. Because the DA enters all races and the ANC is wanting to show muscle.
I am pretty certain that the ANC is aware of the negative impact of participation – hell, I discussed it with a Luthuli Houser on Sunday.
But I suspect that the DA is lobbying the ANC to enter. Directly, or by reverse, reverse psychology.
And knowing the DA “Deputy” Leader as I do, to be a seasoned and resourceful campaigner, I fully expect the DA’s alternative, ANC, candidate to be a chief executive type, with impeccable credentials… A chimera that will terrify even the most discriminating ward two-er!
The “Deputy” Leader will have the ANC swallow this meesterplan hook line and sinker: The ANC gets to show intent; the DA gets to beat up on the ANC… And scare voters away from the Independent for an innings victory.
Whatever happens, I can only trust to the savvy of the Ward two-ers: The ANC has no chance in Ward 2. The ANC got 95 votes in May last year.
Don’t be fooled, people of Ward 2. The chance that the DA is behind an ANC candidate entering the race in Ward 2 is a very, very real possibility.