By comparing the 2019 party vote share of voting districts to that of 2014 it is possible to see how voting patterns are changing. By contrasting 2014 and 2019 shares, insight into changing voter allegiances can be gained. The analysis is particularly useful when, as below, the districts selected are seen as typical of area types. Changes are reviewed for those voting districts where results are now available – with about 50% of stations having reported their results.

In Alexandra, a predominantly African township adjacent to Sandton, the voting pattern has remained fairly stable. Both the ANC and EFF slightly increased their share of votes at the expense of the DA and other small parties. The ANC share rose from 72% to 73%. The EFF share increased from 17% to 19%.

In Diepsloot, a settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg that is younger and more informal than Alexandra, the ANC increased its share of votes by 4% to a total of 74%. This increase was at the expense of the EFF and smaller parties

In Soweto, the largest township in Johannesburg, there was a small drop in the vote share of the ANC (drops to 75%), the DA and smaller parties. These declines were to the benefit of EFF who gained almost 5% more of the vote share to secure 15% of the vote.

KwaMashu: The ANC has long dominated the 78 voting districts in the Inanda/KwaMashu townships in the Durban area. In 2009/2014 the ANC obtained approximately 85% of the vote. Now the ANC share has dropped by 14% – almost all of which went to the EFF (who increased their share by 12 points). The NFP lost 2.4% of the vote even though they only had 2.7% to start with.

In a townships outside of Port Elizabeth there was a slight decline in ANC dominance (from 79.7% to 77.7%) as well as in the DA and COPE vote shares. The difference proves to be to the advantage of EFF who gained 5% and get 12% of the vote

In Khayalitsha in Cape Town, a large predominantly African township outside Cape Town, the ANC share dropped by 6% to 80%. The vote shares of small parties like COPE and UDM also declined. The beneficiary was, once again, EFF who increased their share of votes by 5%.

In Mitchells Plain, a predominantly ‘coloured’ township located between Cape Town City and Khayalitsha, the DA share of votes was cut from 86% to 74%. Virtually all the loss went to the newly-formed GOOD party who obtained 6% of the vote.

Rural areas

Xolobeni is a small traditional community in the Eastern Cape which has been at the center of a campaign against mining developments in the area. Some residents allege that the national government has been supporting the mining interests. In Xolobeni the ANC share of votes dropped from 97% to 68%.  All of these losses proved to be to the benefit of the EFF who, from insignificant support in 2014, gained 20% of the vote.

The 75 voting districts in the Ulundi / Ilangakazi / Mahlabatini / Uloliwe area are a key area of influence for both the IFP and the NFP. In this area the NFP share of votes was decimated – dropping from 18% to 9%. However the ANC was unable to capitalise on the decline and its share of votes dropped by almost 5%. The winners were the IFP who gain another 14% share (to get 60% of the total), the EFF (who rose from insignificant support to 7%) and the DA who etched out an additional 2%.

In the former homelands areas of the Eastern Cape the overall trend was flat for the ANC and DA. However the EFF was able to double its share from 3% to 6.5% at the expense of small parties like UDM and COPE.

The overall trend was for changes in vote patterns to be negligible or small (about 5%). In general small parties like the EFF were able to make small gains off established parties like the ANC. A similar situation is evident with respect to GOOD and the DA. Overall these gains were small and while they did not threaten the dominance of the established party they do chip away at its support base. In several instances growth by the EFF was at the expense of small parties like the UDM and COPE.

While the comparison of vote share lends insight into changing voter allegiances it is not a useful way of understanding election outcomes in general. A party may overwhelmingly win a ward or district but if that win is on the back of a low turnout the contribution to the parties provincial tally may be negligible. A smaller winning margin amidst a higher turnout may benefit parties more than a big win with few voters. For this reason attention has to be paid to participation rates in conjunction with vote shares.