There are over 580,000 registered voters in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), and each vote will count, making turn-out key on Wednesday. Traditionally, the DA does well in getting its supporters to the hustings. The ANC does less so amid unwillingness to vote differently despite disillusionment about the party, not only about national issues like unemployment and corruption, but also regional ANC factionalism.
This trend was highlighted in the 2011 local government election, when the opposition party’s support skyrocketed to 40.13%, up from 24.39% in the 2006 municipal poll, according to the IEC. In contrast, the ANC plummeted almost 15 percentage points to 51.91%, down from 66.53%.
It is this stark change in voting support that has galvanised the DA into thinking the metro is within its reach. Winning Nelson Mandela Bay would mean the country’s opposition party would clinch another metro, this time outside the Western Cape where it governs Cape Town and the province. DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip, the party’s Eastern Cape chairperson, started campaigning very early and continued until the last minute. DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Sunday addressed supporters on job plans, a day after the DA officially held its electioneering closing Phetogo rally in Soweto, Johannesburg.
The ANC earlier this year launched its local governmental manifesto in Nelson Mandela Bay in an intended show of force. Its top officials have been in and out of the metro, repeatedly, to hit the campaign trail. However, there