THE five major political parties in the Eastern Cape have promised the election outcome this week will surprise many.
All the parties claim to have gained new ground.
These include the ANC, COPE, the Democratic Alliance (DA), as well as the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the new kid on the block the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
The ANC, which has secured a comfortable majority of more than 70% in the province since the dawn of democracy, was the most confident.
Provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane declared the party would regain 80%, “now that COPE failed to take advantage and capitalise on the 1.3 million votes it secured in 2009, a few months after breaking away from the ANC.
“We’ve been to every corner of the province telling our people they must stop taking chances with the future of our country.
“Imagine if COPE had taken over from the ANC? What would have happened? They have failed to even have a single incident-free elective conference. Forget about fly-by-nights,” said Mabuyane.
But the EFF has ruled the ANC out of the picture.
The party’s premier elect, Themba Wele, said: “History aside, we are going to win the Eastern Cape. Without mentioning figures, we are going to run the Eastern Cape.
“People on the ground are re-affirming they agree fully with our policy on redistribution of land. People want to be free,” said Wele.
This despite the FF never contested elections before.
It is the DA and COPE who were more realistic yesterday declaring they would both battle to be Bhisho’s official opposition come Wednesday.
The DA’s provincial leader Athol Trollip ruled out the EFF, saying the Eastern Cape was a two-horse race between the ANC and DA.
“The DA’s main objective is to become the official opposition in the province again. We believe we will become the official opposition by a long way,” said Trollip.
He said his party has built a strong foundation in structures and membership across the province
COPE provincial spokesman Sipho Mkwayi said they would retain their position.
He said what put COPE at an advantage was the party’s presidency was now uncontested unlike when both Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa claimed to be the legitimate leader. The courts ruled in favour of Lekota a few months ago.
The UDM is banking on its president Bantu Holomisa to change the party’s fortunes, by fielding the former Transkei leader as the party’s premier elect.
The party, which once ran the King Sabata Dalindyebo in its heyday, made news when it welcomed hundreds of Shilowa’s supporters from COPE three months before the elections.
UDM provincial secretary Wandile Tsipa said both Holomisa’s “clean record” and the deal with Shilowa’s supporters had put the party in good standing. —