-The DA, uneasy political home of the ‘Afrikaner’ constituency is likely to be punished from within-
This election in my opinion holds an unexpected surprise for most. While many gloat in anticipation of how the ANC will be upstaged by new EFF, I think we omitting to read the signs of the times in Opposition party definition.
It is my view that the surprise in election embrace will come from the Freedom Front growth. The Freedom Front can be considered the last frontier of apartheid thinking in current political context. It will show a marked increase in vote due to three dominant reasons.
1. Internal DA Ideological and Leadership squabbles
The DA leadership has increasingly irritated a primary constituency that joined them less of political ideological pragmatism but almost forced-choice of limited political space.
This group ensembles those who in this era defines themselves as an “Afrikaner” constituency who in a sense has used the DA as hideout because they did not want to be openly seen as against transformation for a litany of reasons.
This group in my assessment remains soft belly of the DA. It is my view that contrary to what the DA wants SA to believe, black voter growth is not the true reason for its growth. It is this constituency who had accidently found a place in the DA’s blanket of liberalism, the same they will never be. If we accept the history of the English and Afrikaans politics, it was in a sense a stroke of genius to have managed to become the voice for a conflated constituency representative of these two groups.
The DA in this season in an increasing sense is annoying its ‘Afrikaner’ constituency that will in their own way deem it their right to punish Helen’s obsession with a black face for the DA, confusion on employment equity policy and many other issues such as the Afrikaans language.
2. The now confirmed existence of the EFF
The emergence of the EFF with its hardened rhetoric of nationalization and unconstitutional manifesto wish list of programmes has solidified the need for this group to come out of the closet.
I am contending the presence of an EFF if it was like a UDM or a COPE even a Agang-SA, would not have propelled this action because the former mentioned poses no direct threat to the existence of this group perceptively seen from their angle.
The EFF has been clear in its stance and given the media coverage; it gets makes more and more of this group jittery in expressing a fear should the eff for whatever reason emerge. We know the latter is highly improbable regardless to how the media profile the EFF.
In my assessment I foresee the presence of the EFF solicits a response in hardened stance from the ‘Afrikaner’ voters constituency. They therefore will not see the DA as the viable option to articulate or communicate this hardened ideological stance.
3. Reported ANC – Failure in Service Delivery
The claim of 20 years of non-delivery of the ANC (we know this is not true) but at a sentimental level has given this group a right to legitimately claim that SA was better under apartheid.
The sentiment of this notion ignites a sense of honour and pride among some who were castigated as the underwriters of apartheid to emerge from the enclave of the DA and find a political home that at an ideological level resonates with them.
In addition, having such a conviction in ideology has become legitimized in a constitutional democracy rendering the fear of being ostracised for being old fashioned and conservative is a today not that more radical.
• The question becomes since this constituency finds itself in the DA and have voted for the DA in swelling of its ranks over the period of the last 20 years, where will they next find a home?
• The question becomes if they are feeling threatened and vulnerable with the emergence of a boisterous EFF and is afforded a right to resort back to a laager mentality a common tendency if the history of this group is understood, how will they respond to this!
• If they feel almost vindicated by the parading claims of non-delivery and some convinced of apartheid as better, what will this do to their psyche if anything at all?
It is here that I think the Freedom Front may become the benefactor of this growing phenomenon. The Afrikaner group is not necessarily a homogenous group that all vote the same, for its long exposure to the right to vote coupled with the divergent ideological stances renders them capable of punishing the DA. Some may ask why the Freedom Front, the answer is simple. It is highly unlikely that this group will start a new party, they therefore will look at a legitimate structure already operating and part of the constitutional democracy party political footprint. The likes of Solidarity and Agri-Forum as NGO structures are more ideologically linked to a Freedom Front than a Democratic Alliance and could be the very critical linkages for the crossover and even walk out from the DA.
I therefore anticipate that the Freedom Front is likely to have more seats in parliament come May 8, 2014. I would not be surprised if this translates to the DA losing 4 – 5% of its voter base to the Freedom Front.