I’m going to look at a series of maps of Gauteng, down to the voting district (VD) level, to show the EFF’s success in the 2014 elections. Support for the party is clustered and ‘lumpy’, as with most other parties.
Based on the 2014 results, the EFF should expect to win a handful of wards in Gauteng in the 2016 municipal elections, and we can examine the implications for municipal councils post-election, particularly in the three metros (Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni).
But the results also raise questions about the composition of the EFF’s support: is it broad-based or is it restricted by language and ethnic identity? And, if the support is only in certain narrow strata, can it grow in time for the elections?
The EFF took 10.3 per cent of the vote in Gauteng in last year’s elections, which was pretty good for a first-time effort. The party holds eight of the 73 seats in the provincial legislature.
Support for the EFF, just like support for the ANC or DA, is not evenly distributed. This is important for constituency-based elections, which South Africa has only at the municipal level. Just like real estate deals, ward elections are all about location, location, location.
There were 2 647 VDs in the province then (this number should change by next year’s elections). The table below is a quick-n-dirty look at the distribution of the vote across those VDs:
The party won 10.3 per cent of the provincial vote on average, but only did better than this average in four out of ten VDs (40 per cent). It won 20 per cent or more of the vote in only one out of ten VDs (just under 10 per cent).
The EFF won 30 per cent or more of the vote in only 54 VDs (2 per cent of all VDs) and it won 40 per cent or more of vote in just ten VDs (which is less than half a per cent of the total). But these last few VDs are clustered tightly. The Commander-In-Chief himself might say that “These are revolutionary suburbs and townships!”
Take a quick look at the first map of the province, colour-coded for EFF support, from yellow to red.
It’s hard to pinpoint VDs of interest for two reasons. Firstly, some areas of the province have VDs so small that, on the map, they’re just a smudge of black lines. Secondly, it’s hard to differentiate between the yellow, mustard and orange shades.
So let’s remove from the map the VDs with lower levels of support in order to reveal the more EFF-friendly VDs – a bit like lowering the lights at the planetarium to reveal the individual stars. Here’s the VDs that gave the EFF more than 10 per cent of the vote:
And here are the VDs that gave more than 20 per cent of the vote to the EFF in 2014. I have also added the three metros in the background:
You can see the patterns as you cycle backwards through the maps: the nodes of high support have areas of lower support adjacent to them. You can also see that there are few areas of medium-to-high-support outside of the three metros.
In the next few posts we’ll zoom in on the three metros to get an idea of EFF support down to the suburb and ward level, and maybe prognosticate on the wards that the EFF could hope to win in the metros.