By Paul Berkowitz

 

The Vryheidsfront Plus (VF+) increased its support at the expense of both the DA and COPE, suggesting that the party’s recovery wasn’t just due to increased support from white voters, but also from other minority voters.

The party looks set to pick up seats in a number of provincial legislatures, mirroring COPE and DA losses in those provinces. In the Eastern Cape the VF+ is likely to gain its first ever seat in the province, while COPE should lose its seat from 2014. A similar swapping of seats between the two parties could occur in the Limpopo and Northern Cape legislatures.

The party might also increase its Gauteng presence from one to three seats while the DA loses three seats in that province. The VF+ could also profit at the DA’s expense in the Western Cape. The party could also increase its tally in the North-West legislature from one to two seats.

Provisional analysis of wards in the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape illustrate how the vote has flowed from COPE and the DA to the VF+. In the Northern Cape, in Ward 3 of the Karoo Hoogland municipality, the DA’s share of the vote fell from 58.3% to 52.0% and COPE’s share fell from 8.7% to 0.8%. At the same time the VF+ saw its share of the vote rise from 10.7% to 23.0%.

The party is poised for its best electoral outing since the 1994 elections. In those inaugural elections the VF+ won 2.2% of the vote and over 424 000 votes nationally, and also had representation in seven out of nine provincial legislatures. In a best-case scenario for the party it might surpass its 1994 achievements in terms of absolute votes and percent of the national vote – and it might win seats in eight of the nine provincial legislatures. The party has never won a provincial seat in the Eastern Cape.