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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


Is election date delay due to ANC fear, or because Electoral Bill is late?

According to an analyst, the MK Party is giving the ANC some sleepless nights, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.


By procrastinating in announcing the date for the 2024 elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa has tried to buy time to allow the ANC to strategise against Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, an expert says.

According to independent analyst Sandile Swana, the new opposition party is giving the ruling party sleepless nights, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Swana said the president’s delay in announcing the date was no coincidence: the ANC needed time to gauge the impact of the MK party on the party’s support base.

The fact that Jacob Zuma publicly announced his support for MK and pledged to vote for it had “definitely unsettled” the ANC voter base and its membership and even the party’s NEC was feeling the pinch.

“The ANC has to prepare for a caning in 2024 because the caning is coming,” he said. “This is different from any other election.

“Ramaphosa is set to be the president that lost the majority for the ANC [and] there is nothing they can do to prevent that situation, it is here.

“Ramaphosa needs to use the time before the announcement to settle in the best possible way, so as to know where his starting point might be, what he has lost and what he still has.

“He wants to go into a campaign process sure about where he still has control.”

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Election expert Michael Atkins said the delayed passing of the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill was a potential stumbling block for the president.

If Ramaphosa were to jump the gun and announce a date before the legislation was passed, that could bring an administrative crisis for the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Ramaphosa was expected to announce the election date during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week but, instead, the Presidency moved it to 23 February.

But Atkins said this was unlikely, purely due to the process that still had to be followed in the passage of the Act. “At the moment, I can’t see them having an election date before 12 June, ” Atkins said.

Once passed, the legislation would enable the IEC to issue funding rules for independents and to allow them broadcasting rights as part of their campaigns.

Atkins said new provisions in the legislation needed to be operating before the process could move forward.

“In my opinion, the reason the president didn’t announce an election date at Sona was because they were not sure how long this Bill was going to take to get through.”

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If the president were to pronounce on the matter and make proclamation in the Government Gazette, then the voters’ roll would have to be closed on the same day and the IEC would kick off the election timetable.

This would put independents in a tight corner because the legislation, which was meant to include them in the system, would be rushed.

The Bill still had to go to the National Council of Province before being sent to the president to sign. “It’s my opinion is going to take longer than 5 March to get through the National Assembly. I think they are going to run into difficulty,” Atkins said.

Swana said both the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) were bleeding support, as indicated by recent by-elections.

“In KwaZulu-Natal, a recent by-election indicates the MK has taken a huge chunk of ANC support,” he said.

“Both the DA and the ANC are on shaky ground in the Western Cape and KZN.” The ANC lost a ward in Pongola to the Inkatha Freedom Party while the DA lost a ward in George to the Patriotic Alliance on Wednesday

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