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Northern suburbs Jews have impact on vote

  • Wayne Sussman
Before the elections, I said that I would love to see a heat map showing where major party personalities were campaigning in 2019 compared to 2014.
by WAYNE SUSSMAN | May 16, 2019

I live in Norwood. We had Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana address a meeting at the Ascot Hotel. Trevor Manuel came to lend support.

We had Mmusi Maimane and Solly Msimanga address a town-hall meeting at Houghton Primary School. Tony Leon came in from the cold to address shoppers at Kosher World in Glenhazel to drive up support for the Democratic Alliance (DA).

It was clear that the polling of both the African National Congress (ANC) and the DA revealed that they could not ignore voters in the north-eastern suburbs of Johannesburg. For the ANC, votes in the suburb held the key to getting more than 50% or not making that threshold and having to form a coalition.

For the DA, it revealed that the reliable pool of suburban voters was not going to be as easy to convince as before. President Cyril Ramaphosa needed a mandate.

I’m reasonably confident that the ANC and DA would have found common cause in their polling, and that it would have shown the ANC in Gauteng below 50% in the week before the election.

The ANC ran a very impressive Gauteng campaign. Don’t be surprised if Gauteng campaign manager Lebogang Maile gets a promotion. The ANC came over the line by driving turnout in Gauteng.

Turnout in Gauteng in 2014 was on the national par of 73%. This time, the provincial turnout was at 68%, higher than the national average of 66%.

So, what happened at voting stations with a high concentration of Jewish voters? I have looked at voting stations in Glenhazel, Fairmount, and Norwood in Johannesburg, and two voting stations in different parts of Sea Point.

In Glenhazel and Fairmount, the DA was able to show growth in both the national and provincial ballots. There was small growth for the ACDP in Glenhazel, but it fell slightly in Fairmount.

Both suburbs were not feeling the Ramaphoria, and broke for the DA. The ZACP (Capitalist Party aka Purple Cows) picked up 1% of the vote. The DA did better on the provincial ballot than the national ballot, and that trend showed here.

Norwood had interesting results. The suburb does tend to be more diverse than the above mentioned suburbs, and the results showed a slip in support for the DA, with that support moving mainly to the ANC and a tiny slither to the ZACP.

The DA’s losses on the provincial ballot were more subdued than the national ballot. However, the DA shedding votes on the provincial ballot in areas like Norwood are indicative of why the ANC eked out a majority in the provincial elections in Gauteng.

In Sea Point, at the French School, support for the ANC more than doubled in the national ballot. More voters around this station wanted to give President Ramaphosa a mandate to govern. The DA lost votes to the ANC, ACDP, and ZACP at Sea Point Primary. While the party did lose ground, it still won the districts with more than 80%.

There was less faith in the ANC on the provincial ballot in Sea Point, with the party either losing some ground, or holding steady. The DA did not replicate its showing in 2014, when it won more than 90% of the vote, but did get in the high 80s. Patricia De Lille’s GOOD received some support in Sea Point.

A better indicator of what went right for the ANC on election day – and what went wrong for the DA – might be found at the only Jewish institution in South Africa which has a voting station – Bet David-in Morningside, Sandton. This is a relatively more diverse district.

On the provincial ballot, The ANC got 20% of the vote, up from 17% in 2014, while the DA’s vote share fell from 77% to 71%. This was more pronounced on the national ballot, where the ANC’s vote share rose from 17% to 27%, while the DA’s fell from 73% to 62%.

In a general election, turnout is everything. It is interesting to note that while turnout in Glenhazel, especially Fairmount, was high, even though it was lower than it was in 2014, it was still way above the provincial average. However, when one looks at Norwood, and at Bet David in Morningside, you see that turnout was way lower. Turnout in 2014 was 73% at Norwood, it fell to 62%. At Bet David, turnout fell to 66% from 76%. This was the DA’s chief Achilles heel on Wednesday. It will hope that the suburban stay away will be arrested by the time the 2021 elections come around.

Three new parties will be in the next parliament. These include Patricia De Lille’s GOOD party; the African Transformation Movement, a party guided by Mzwanele Manyi and linked to one of the factions of the Shembe church; and Ganief Hendriks’ Al-Jama-ah.

Agang and Themba Godi’s African People’s Convention will not return.

  • Wayne Sussman writes about by-elections for Daily Maverick.

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