As South Africa is preparing for what is expected to be bloodied municipal elections come 2016, political parties are well on their way to do battle in their attempts to acquire most of the votes at the polls.
The contesting parties have already shown that they are prepared to use anything, everything and all possible means to bury each other in their attempts to collect as many votes as possible. It will be a ding-dong battle and indeed only the strong will survive.
As is usually the case towards any election, political parties normally “don’t play the ball, but choose to play the man instead” and some “play very rough” bending the rules from one end of the polls to the other.
While some parties use the most powerful tool of mass communication to sway votes in their favour, some parties use their most favourite weapon, the media - from social media to daily and weekly newspapers. Some use radio and television technology mostly to influence voters to vote for their preferred party.
These parties know that they don’t have to go full strength in their campaigns. They know that they have in their corner, the correct partners in the media industry who will go all out in supporting them through among others, obvious propaganda while bad-mouthing and attacking opposing contenders.
It’s a dog eats dog situation and those who don’t know how to “play the man’ usually find themselves on the receiving end – counting their losses when the results are announced.
But this time around, the “obvious winners” of both the national and municipal elections – the African National Congress - must expect to have the opposition guns loaded against them. They must expect tough contesting from parties like the two main opposition leaders, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The ruling ANC however must not only look-out for the opposition. They must also look inside their own kraal. They must look out for those disgruntled members who are very unhappy about the way some leaders in the province have been handling their problems.
The ANC must have their eyes glued on municipalities where hundreds of their followers are unhappy with the movement. ANC leader in the North West, Supra Mahumapelo who is both chairperson and Premier in the North West must expected a backlash from municipalities like Ramotshere Moiloa, Ngaka Modiri Molema District, Ventersdorp, Tlokwe, Matlosana who have all expressed dissatisfaction about the way the provincial leadership had handled pressing issue which included the controversial amalgamation of Ventersdorp and Tlokwe municipalities, the ongoing ousting, recalling or replacement of Africa Thale as mayor of Ramotshere Moiloa and the pending realignment of the workforce at Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality and the challenges at Matlosana and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati where the party’s regional executive committee (PEC) was disbanded last week.
The continued reported ill-discipline among ANC leaders in the province does not augur well for Mahumaplelo and his team of leaders. Two parallel meetings were recently held in Ngaka Modiri Molema where one camp had regional chairperson, Justice Makolomakwa and another, regional secretary, Priscilla Williams.
The ANC in the province need to address these and many other challenges before it is too late to change and minds of the voters awaiting the 2016 elections. Only a few months remain before the day.
Comment by Bobby Saul of 13 Martin Street, Galleria Arcade, Mafikeng.