Barely four months after Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters painted the town of Marikana red, the African National Congress decided to do the same with its own colours. In October 2013, the EFF took a bold move to officially launch the political organisation at Wonderkop, the site of the Marikana Massacre where the police shot and killed 34 striking miners. According to media reports, since the massacre, the residents of Wonderkop have not been particularly keen to interact with the ruling party. Nevertheless, the ANC went out on the streets of Marikana in a door-to-door elections campaign.
The ANC delegation of leaders was led by its Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. They spent time in the homes of area residents, listening to their issues and reaffirming the organisation’s manifesto promises. The party spokesperson believes that the welcome the ANC received in Marikana is proof that “the people of Marikana know that the ANC has never left them”. He added that the people in the area “have faith in the ANC’s ability to resolve” their challenges.
The election race of 2014 seems set to be the most intensely anticipated ever in South Africa. Recently, the DA and EFF launched their elections manifestos. The EFF did so in front of a crowd of more than 50 000 people. Analysts are of the opinion that the large EFF crowd turnout should have been an eye-opener for other political parties.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to strengthen support bases, the Mbazima Shilowa faction of COPE has put its support solidly behind General Bantu Holomisa’s UDM in the upcoming elections. The elections campaign for the DA and AgangSA got off to a confusing start with members of both organisations not quite sure whose face they would have to look out for on the ballot paper. Not long ago, Helen Zille and Mamphela Ramphele were parties to a controversial and highly publicised political one-night stand that South Africans are not likely to forget anytime soon.
Considering the division among the unions representing the workforce of South Africa, it is almost certain that the results of this year’s elections will have more than a few surprises for the voting public. If the actions of the EFF and ANC are anything to go by, it seems political parties believe that their performance and presence in Marikana could make or break their elections campaign in the province of North West.