Cope presidential candidate Mvume Dandala unveiled the party’s election posters in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Friday, blaming the delay on a shortage of resources.
“We would have loved to put up our posters earlier, but Cope is experiencing what South African people are experiencing — a shortage of resources,” Dandala told reporters.
“We understand the problem of poverty. We are not flush with resources. We are a party of the people.”
Dandala put up the first poster, bearing a picture of Cope leader Terror Lekota, on a lamp-pole in Midrand traffic.
More yellow Cope posters, which simply state “Vote Cope”, bore pictures of a smiling Dandala.
He said the Congress of the People decided to have two faces on its posters for a good reason.
“To have two faces up there, is a powerful message. We are staying, ‘separate the party from the state’. We are not a party who would interfere with the executive,” said Dandala.
Markinor executive director Mari Harris told the Mail & Guardian earlier this month that polls show Cope will receive between 8% and 12% of the vote on April 22 — nowhere near the 51% the party claims it is targeting.
Said Harris: “In the field that is what we are picking up. There is a floating vote of 8% up for grabs, so it depends on how Cope behaves itself in the time before the elections.”
And according to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) national tracking poll, Cope is polling between 6% and 8%.
“They’ve fallen from between 10% and 11% in mid-January to between 6% and 8% now,” said DA elections chief Ryan Coetzee.
The DA poll shows that the African National Congress (ANC) and the DA have improved their ratings since January, when election campaigning started in earnest.
Harris and Coetzee agree that the lack of visible election campaigning, including posters, advertisements and large rallies, is hurting Cope.
“They aren’t in the public eye. They aren’t on radio, lampposts or television nearly enough. Rallies work in some areas to get the rural vote,” said Harris.