Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Picture: BUSINESS DAY

THE African National Congress (ANC) share of the vote in 2014 is expected to drop to 56.2% from 65.9% in 2009, Nomura South Africa estimates in its country view nine months ahead of the poll.

Several new political players are set to contest the 2014 polls, marking the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democratic transition from apartheid.

AgangSA was launched in Tshwane in June, led by former businesswoman and apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, and while it is set to contest the elections in all nine provinces, its focus has largely been on Gauteng, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

Axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has launched a "protest movement", the Economic Freedom Front (EFF), which is also expected to contest the polls, with a strong focus on the Free State, North West and Limpopo.

The Workers and Socialist Party, which rose in the wake of labour unrest in the mining sector in 2012, will also be contesting strongly in the North West, vying with the EFF for the votes of mineworkers around the country. The EFF is set to hold a rally next week at Marikana — the site of the slaying of 34 mineworkers in a shootout with police in August 2012 — the day after the anniversary of the killing.

"We expect no immediate, fundamental, policy reaction after the election to the likely loss of vote share, save for an increase in taxes to increase spending," it says of the ANC’s drop in vote share.

"However, we expect the ANC to initially try much greater state involvement in the economy before ultimately (around the 2019 election) realising that is never going to work and attempting a more free-market solution for the economy."

Nomura acknowledges that, "given a total lack of publicly available detailed polling data at this stage, the margin for error around these forecasts is clearly quite large".

"The appearance of new parties that will likely take support from both the far left of the ANC and the centre or centre-left (EFF and Agang respectively), not to mention the rising popularity of the DA (Democratic Alliance), should create an atmosphere of public policy and political debate at this election that was not present at the last election in 2009, or even at the 2011 municipal election when COPE (the Congress of the People) did not provide a credible challenge."

Nomura expects the DA to increase its share of the vote from 16.7% to 27% percent. It predicts a 6% share of the vote for debutante AgangSA.

It says the EFF may garner a "significant chunk" of the unemployed and township youth vote but predicts a low voter turnout among this group. Nomura estimates the EFF will receive around 4% of the vote, giving it 16 seats in Parliament, which may include Mr Malema, should he successfully shake off tax fraud charges.

COPE, an ANC breakaway launched in the aftermath of the party’s messy Polokwane conference where former president Thabo Mbeki was ousted by President Jacob Zuma, is expected to "continue to die a slow death".

The party has been rocked by infighting since shortly after a strong showing in the 2009 polls in which it obtained 30 seats in Parliament. Nomura anticipates that its share of the vote will fall from 7.4% to 2%.