South Africa

Election battleground: Is the MK party ‘non-existent’ in Limpopo?

If past provincial, national and recent by-elections, are any indication, the African National Congress (ANC) is poised for another clean sweep in Limpopo.

Of the 10 million votes the ANC got in the 2019 elections, just over one million of those were cast in Limpopo, representing a 77% support.

This was followed by the EFF with 198,439 votes, representing a 13.14% support and the DA with 81,066 votes (5.37%).

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The total number of votes cast was 1.530,837 out of the registered population of 2.6 million.

Although the party ate the biggest piece of the pie, it recorded a slight decrease from 78.97% in 2014.

Results from previous elections show the ANC’s biggest problem in Limpopo is voter apathy, rather than voters opting for other political parties.

ANC takes from EFF in Limpopo

At the by-elections on 25 April 2024, the ANC won a seat previously held by the EFF in Seshego, the hometown of EFF leader Julius Malema.

The by-election in Polokwane’s Ward 10 was a result of EFF councillor Jacob Seshoka stepping down after he was charged with alleged theft of guns and ammunition.

The sobering loss ahead of the crucial 29 May general elections came after former EFF Limpopo leader Jossey Buthane rallied red-beret members to rejoin the ANC.

With 7,110 registered voters in the ward, the voter turnout was 48.5%, according to IEC electoral officer Nkaro Mateta.

The governing party received 1,811 votes, followed by the EFF with 1,474 votes.

ActionSA netted 63 votes, while the by-election debutant for the Limpopo MK party received 23 votes. EFF breakaway party, the Economic Liberators Forum of SA netted 40 votes.

‘Let the whites run the country’

Elsewhere in Limpopo, black members of the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) in the province say they are tired of the “ineffective” ANC and prefer white people to take over the running of South Africa.

Freedom Front Plus black members
Freedom Front Plus member David Moela (seated) poses with fellow party supporters in Bela Bela, Limpopo. Photo: Supplied.

The FF Plus is the fourth-biggest party in the province.

The FF Plus members made it clear that it is time black leaders make way for whites.

Wilhelmina Msiza, a 36-year-old resident of Bela Bela, said she is a former supporter of the ANC and had stopped taking part in elections years ago.

She recently joined the FF Plus and will for the first time cast her vote for the party on 29 May, she said.

“It’s been 30 years of promises from the ANC, I am tired. We are jobless and have no water. People criticised the apartheid system, but at least everyone had a job,” she said.

Msiza said she believed the FF Plus and its leader Pieter Groenewald should be given a chance.

“They tell the truth and do things accordingly, and they do not discriminate, that is why I support FF Plus.

“I always tell those who criticise my political affiliation that black parties will lead them nowhere. They have no jobs or houses, while their politicians enrich themselves.

“The ANC is ineffective, it is a failure. Allow white people to come in and undo the ANC’s bad decisions,” Msiza said.

However, the party has not managed to make any inroads in the province.

MK non-existent in KwaZulu-Natal?

The former president Jacob Zuma-led MK party has been labelled a KwaZulu-Natal party.

However, the upcoming election has been dubbed the most contested and unpredictable yet.

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In a recent Newzroom Afrika interview, ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha said the MK party was “non-existent” in the province.

“The MK party is non-existent in our province. It’s absolutely non-existent. I am not sure whether I should say parties such as uMKhonto weSizwe have no base as far as the province is concerned,” he told the news channel.

“I don’t know of any big meeting that they organised in our province and it was successful. In our province, I don’t see any impediment when it comes to the voting population. Our people can see what the ANC has done in this province.

“There is no way our people can be tossed around by any Mickey Mouse party.”

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Earlier this year, the party struggled to launch in Limpopo, with allegations of sabotage ensuing as a result.

At the time, the ANC in Limpopo dismissed allegations it had sabotaged Zuma’s campaign tour.

The Citizen recently reported famous Xitsonga musician Papa Penny Penny dumped the ANC for the MK party.

Whether the “crowd puller” will be able to sway votes in ANC’s favour remains to be seen.

READ MORE: Papa Penny Penny ditches ANC for MK party

Additional reporting by Getrude Makhafola