A poor showing by the ruling party at next year’s general election will likely cost President Jacob Zuma his job, political analyst Nic Borain said on Thursday.
Speaking at a Cape Town Press Club lunch, he said the signs were that “the ANC’s glue is coming unstuck” after the Marikana shootings last year.
“They [the ANC] are taking this 2014 election extremely seriously. They’re going to fight tooth and nail to [win it].
“They know that if they drop below 60%, they’re in trouble. Jacob Zuma will be in trouble… “
Responding to questions, Borain – a local independent analyst, who spoke on “the impact of the current mining troubles” in South Africa – suggested the rise of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was a turning point for ANC supporters.
Support for it had been triggered by unhappiness with the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
“There was a huge defection [from] the ANC support base in the platinum sector.”
This had later spread to the gold sector, where it had risen – according to some sources – to 30%.
“Jacob Zuma is now losing support among urban black people,” Borain said.
Asked to predict the likely showing of the ANC at next year’s elections, he said a “worst-case scenario” was the ANC retained 65% of the vote.
He suggested a more-likely “best scenario” would see the ANC get 59% of the vote. This, he said, would lead to ANC leaders negotiating a “controlled exit” for Zuma, who would want to be assured he could leave with his wealth intact and not facing corruption charges.
“The ANC is not going to accept this kind of loss.”
Borain said a third scenario, involving the ANC garnering only 51% of the vote, was “very scary”.
“If that happens, all bets are off.”
Pushed to suggest how political parties might fare in the coming election, he estimated the ANC would take 58%, the DA 26%, a figure he later revised to 30%, and newly-formed Agang SA about 2%.
On the DA, Borain said the main opposition party would find it “difficult to overcome barriers to its growth”.
On the future prospects of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – whose leadership he described as “the clowns and fools of our politics” – Borain said they could take up to 5% of the vote.
“But I can’t see them getting out to vote,” he added. – Sapa