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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

EFF set to brush DA aside in three provinces

Early indications were that the EFF would retain its position as official opposition in the North West and Limpopo and replace the DA as such in Mpumalanga.

It looks like Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will become the official opposition in provinces other than Limpopo and North West.

The EFF passed the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the poll results in Mpumalanga by yesterday afternoon. By 3pm, the EFF had received 77 711 votes in Mpumalanga while the current official opposition, the DA, was at 76 879. That was with 45% of total votes counted.

The EFF looked set to become the official opposition in the rural northern provinces of Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. But it still had a chance of challenging the governing ANC for the top spot.

The ANC was leading in all three provinces at close to halfway of vote counting.

Early indications were that the EFF would retain its position as official opposition in the North West and Limpopo and replace the DA as such in Mpumalanga.

EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu said the party would comfortably retain its place as the official opposition in North West, with its vote tally rising in every update on the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s main results board.

“We are the official opposition in North West and we would be happy to retain that position. But it’s still early days. We could still do better than that in these provinces,” Mpofu said.

He said the EFF’s strength was in the urban metros and most of their votes would come from those areas.

However, the ANC’s majority was highly likely to be drastically reduced even after the final count. Several experts predicted the governing party would fall to between 49% and 55%, which was in line with various snap surveys conducted prior to the election.

Commenting yesterday, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said the fact that it was being debated whether the ANC would get between 49% and 55% was significant.

“That was never heard of before. The issue used to be whether the ANC’s results would go as far down as 60%,” Maluleke said.

Independent political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni said whether the ANC’s majority was reduced or not, President Cyril Ramaphosa would still face the dilemma of who to appoint to his Cabinet, should the party win.

The losing camp within the ANC, which is facing an existential crisis as a result of the evidence emanating from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and other inquiries, could put up some resistance.

But Fikeni added that Ramaphosa would be saved by a mix of political acumen and the legal processes against those who have been implicated in the commissions of inquiry.

Fikeni was referring to some of the ANC top brass and ministers who have been cited as having benefitted from state capture.

Ramaphosa has already undertaken to exclude party members implicated in the inquiry from the next Cabinet. If the ANC lost parliamentary seats, Ramaphosa would have to trim his Cabinet and those exposed in commissions of inquiry appeared to be his targets.

But they could not blame him as it was a consequence of the democratic electoral process, Fikeni added.


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