While all eyes were on the African National Congress (ANC) and its two biggest opposition parties in the elections held on Wednesday, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) has emerged as a surprise package with vote counting still on going.
As of 14:00 on Thursday, with 42% of the vote tallied, the ruling party leads the way with 56.2% of the vote, followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) at 24%, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) occupies third place with 9.2%.
Directly behind the red berets is the FF+ who – at the halfway mark – has already surpassed the total number of votes it achieved in the 2014 national elections.
How the Freedom Front Plus attracted more voters
The party – led by former mayor of Stilfontein, Pieter Groenewaldt – only cracked 165 715 votes in the previous national polls, but has surpassed that number at 180 366, according to the latest results.
Wouter Wessels, the party’s head of elections, is quoted by IOL crediting the gains to its policy on the land issue as well as mobilising followers to make their mark at the voting station.
“We have managed to get our voter to the voting stations yesterday and managed to attracted more voters.
“With a few seats we did a lot and we were an effective opposition party. We put our policy stances there and we are not wishy-washy.”
This performance bodes well for the FF+ at the national assembly, as it’s set to have a stronger voice with at least double its seats, as there is unlikely to be massive shift once all the votes have been tallied.
Parties who have seen their support dwindle include Congress of the People and the United Democratic Movement, who have so far claimed less than one percent of the vote, while the Inkatha Freedom Fighters has also struggled to keep up with its 2014 performance.