South Africa: While Parties Look to #fillupthestadium, Rallies Are No Indicator of Election Results

As election season gets into full swing, many political parties will seek to attract big crowds at their rallies — but filling up a stadium does not directly translate to votes.

On Saturday, the EFF held its manifesto launch — the first of the major political parties to do so. The party held its gathering in the election battleground of KwaZulu-Natal, which is believed to be up for grabs with the entry of Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party and the strength of the IFP, which is expected to give the ANC a run for its money.

KZN has South Africa’s second-largest number of voters after Gauteng, which makes it an important province for parties to penetrate. Current polling suggests that the ANC will lose its majority in the province, where it won 54.22% in 2019.

While the province is not an EFF stronghold, as the third-largest party in South Africa, the Red Berets believed they could fill Durban’s 56,000-seater Moses Mabhida Stadium.

However, it was a tough ask as they had decided not to bus in members from other provinces, and the party, which filled Johannesburg’s 94,000-seater FNB Stadium beyond capacity for its 10th anniversary, fell short in Durban.

A visibly ill Malema was cheered on by supporters in the stadium, which was about 70% full.

The EFF’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, who is deployed to oversee KZN for…

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