By BO Staff Writer
Today’s by-election to be held at the Free State Metsimaholo municipality is being seen as a test for 2019. The wounded South African Communist Party (SACP) will, for the first time, contest the ruling party, African National Congress (ANC), in an election. Dr Makhosi Khoza will also test her strength on the ballot as a new kid on the block. Many observers say Black First Land First (BLF) should have also contested to complete the picture.
The question on everyone’s mind is if the SACP and Dr Khoza will be buried by the ballot today. Will the SACP join hands with opposition parties against the ANC after the election?
The Metsimaholo municipality was governed by a non-ANC coalition of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Freedom Front Plus (FF+), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Metsimaholo Civic Movement. The coalition had a narrow victory over the ANC but couldn’t stabilise the municipality. The mayor, Sello Hlasa, was accused of being too close to the ANC by the coalition partners. The instability of the municipality led to the dissolution of the council and a fresh election called.
For the ANC, Metsimaholo is a test to see if it can reclaim its lost glory. The trend in by-elections has been that the ANC has been showing the opposition parties flames. The DA and EFF have done shockingly bad in almost all by-elections thus far. These parties hope to see different outcomes in Metsimaholo.
This by-election is seen as a test for what 2019 political alignments will look like. Dr Khoza is a place holder for a possible new break away party led by Cyril Ramaphosa should he lose the election in the ANC next month. The DA, EFF, SACP and Dr Khoza will see what percentage of the vote they collectively can get, to assess if their presidential candidate, Cyril Ramaphosa, has a chance in 2019 outside the ANC.
A victory for the coalition of white monopoly capital (DA, SACP, EFF and Dr Khoza) will give the right wing massive confidence in their strategy of defeating a pro-radical economic transformation ANC ticket in 2019.
The value of the by-election is in actual fact only psychological. One municipality is not a useful indicator of how national elections are likely to go. A victory by the ANC on the other hand will lead to a hastening demoralization of the right wing coalition now joined by Dr Khoza and Dr Blade Nzimande.
All eyes will be on Metsimaholo today. The mood created around the election and the amount of money invested by political parties in this by-election makes it a mini rehearsal for 2019. The white owned media is not giving the ANC any chance in the election. Let’s wait and see what the electorate thinks.