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South Africa’s 2009 elections: COPE hope for the opposition?
Unformatted Document Text:  consistently captured the votes that have been said to belong to opposition parties in their identified racial and ethnic base. The ANC since 1999 has increased its “coloured” votes ( South Africa’s biggest Muslim community) in the Western Cape, a constituency argued to belong to the Democratic Party (DP) which is now the Democratic Alliance (DA). This is while it has increased its Indian vote in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is eventually gaining control of the province in defeating the IFP. This is the same in the Eastern Cape, the so called territory of the UDM; the ANC is in control of this province. This has been the same in the Gauteng- the economic centre of the country; the ANC has captured the votes in areas such as Ennerdale and Eden Park which are white dominated (Taylor & Hoeane, 1999). The ANC, after the 2004 elections, became the party in government in all nine South African provinces while, the DA, the official opposition, holds only 12 per cent of the national vote, failing to capture its intended 30 per cent ( Piombo, 2005). The argument here is that race and ethnicity as major forces in driving voter behavior is correct, but the extent of their influence cannot be over-emphasized by isolating them from other sets of complex factors that also influence voter behavior. This paper leans to the argument by Mattes and Piombo (2001) that race [not so much ethnicity] as a criterion for voter behavior in South Africa bears credence because of the political fact that implications of government policy is perceived differently by different races. A spectacular example is the ANC’s policy of Affirmative Action through the Employment Equity Act, which provides different realities for different races. Therefore, race becomes a measurement of social change, a reality that South Africa cannot escape, an idea which will be argued further in the following section. However, race alone fails to explain why other so called black parties have been experiencing a steady decrease in votes, evident in the Pan Africanist Congress, the IFP, 5

Authors: Magadla, Siphokazi.
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consistently   captured   the   votes   that   have   been   said   to   belong   to   opposition   parties   in   their 
identified racial and ethnic base. The ANC since 1999 has increased its “coloured” votes ( South 
Africa’s biggest Muslim community) in the Western Cape, a constituency argued to belong to 
the Democratic Party (DP) which is now the Democratic Alliance (DA). This is while it has 
increased its Indian vote in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is eventually gaining control of the province in 
defeating the IFP. This is the same in the Eastern Cape, the so called territory of the UDM; the 
ANC is in control of this province. This has been the same in the Gauteng- the economic centre 
of the country; the ANC has captured the votes in areas such as Ennerdale and Eden Park which 
are white dominated (Taylor & Hoeane, 1999).  The ANC, after the 2004 elections, became the 
party in government in all nine South African provinces while, the DA, the official opposition, 
holds only 12 per cent of the national vote, failing to capture its intended 30 per cent ( Piombo, 
2005). The argument here is that race and ethnicity as major forces in driving voter behavior is 
correct, but the extent of their influence cannot be over-emphasized by isolating them from other 
sets of complex factors that also influence voter behavior. 
This paper leans to the argument by Mattes and Piombo (2001) that race [not so much ethnicity] 
as a criterion for voter behavior in South Africa bears credence because of the political fact that 
implications   of government  policy   is  perceived   differently   by different  races.  A  spectacular 
example is the ANC’s policy of Affirmative Action through the Employment Equity Act, which 
provides different realities for different races.  Therefore, race becomes a measurement of social 
change, a reality that South Africa cannot escape, an idea which will be argued further in the 
following section. However, race alone fails to explain why other so called black parties have 
been experiencing a steady decrease in votes, evident in the Pan Africanist Congress, the IFP, 
5


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