Port Elizabeth – Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told residents of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape on Friday that the party was working to take control of it.
Thousands of people clad in red, descended on the NU1 Cricket Grounds in Motherwell to listen to Malema, standing in long queues to get into the stadium.
Outside, vendors were kept busy selling EFF branded T-shirts, caps and red berets.
Malema told the crowds that the EFF was working to take control of the municipality.
“There is going to be liberation here in Nelson Mandela Bay. We want a better municipality, this municipality is permanently in a crisis,” he said.
Malema criticised current municipal Mayor Benson Fihla, as being too old for the position of mayor. Fihla is 82-years-old.
“You need an energetic young person to lead this municipality. We are taking this municipality. By the time they wake up, they will be very far in PE,” he said.
While the EFF only secured 4.2% of the vote in Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2014 national elections, there has been a groundswell of support recently as unhappiness with the current administration, under the leadership of the ANC, has grown.
While it is unlikely that the EFF will garner enough votes to win Nelson Mandela Bay outright, the tightly contested election race between the ANC and the DA, means that the growth in the EFF is extremely significant.
Voting trends since 2006 indicate that there is a very strong possibility that the DA could be on course to take control of the municipality next year.
The growth in the support for the EFF is most likely to undermine the ANC’s support base, but in a tightly contested election, the EFF could very well become king makers through a coalition.