/ 10 May 2019

Election’s biggest little winners — FF+ Freedom Front Plus

Election’s biggest little winners — FF+
The electoral victims that contributed to the FF Plus’ success appear to be the Democratic Alliance. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) are the biggest winners of the 2019 national elections. The mainly white and Afrikaans-speaking party received more than double their previous support. It has been electioneering on removing affirmative action, doing away with an incompetent government and halting the possibility of expropriation without compensation,

Meanwhile many smaller and larger parties have seen a decline.

Based on the predictions by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, (CSIR) in collaboration with the SABC, FF+ saw its biggest increase in the North West province, followed by Gauteng and then by the Western Cape.

Renee Koen from the CSIR said that the party would come at above 2%, which is still over double what they had. This is a big increase for the party.

She said: “The ANC and the Democratic Alliance have gone down a bit and the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Freedom Front have shown increases. For them, this is something they will definitely be happy about. Their increase may not be consistent across the provinces but nationally they have done much better than previous elections.”

Party leader, Pieter Groenewald denies his party campaigned on a ticket of afrikaner populism, saying they were only responding to how voters feel.

“We came up with the slogan of ‘Fight Back’ [slaan terug] because that is how people felt. Now is the time in the election. We said use your vote in an election. Against ANC corruption. Against expropriation without compensation. I know there’s a perception that it is divisive we have too much violence. If you say fight back on an election poster, we are saying use your vote,” Groenewald said.

In 2014, the FF+ could not get more than 1% of votes, yet this year the party has doubled its support across the country. For instance, in the Eastern Cape the party moved from 0.39% of the votes and is expected to get more than 1% of the votes with a great showing in Kouga where the party got more than 6% of the votes.

In the Northern Cape the the party increased its numbers by 1.88%. It was in Thembelihle, which includes Orania, where the party got 11% of the votes. The municipality was won by the ANC with 54%.

The political party, which was formed in 1994 as the Freedom Front stated in its manifesto that race-based appointments and quotas threaten economic freedom and reduce the criteria used for appointments to nothing but race while expertise, abilities and experience are disregarded. Using skin colour as the criterion for empowerment is a manifold injustice.

“Our natural resources and environment are being destroyed by an incompetent government with misguided priorities. South Africa is also burdened by poor service delivery. Our towns and cities are dirty,” reads the manifesto.

Their manifesto also states that there are very few competent public officials left who can actually do the work, and that is why health care, infrastructure, state-owned entities, departments and municipalities are all failing.

“Expropriation without compensation threatens every South African’s right to owning property and it reduces white South Africans, particularly farmers, to thieves who stole the land or property currently in their possession.”

The party also supports women’s rights and stated that “most victims of rape, molestation and domestic violence are too afraid to report these incidents to the police due to intimidation.”

The electoral victims that contributed to the FF Plus’ success appear to be the Democratic Alliance (DA).

“There’s no doubt we made inroads in the white electorate of the DA,” Groenewald said.

“We openly came forward for the protection of minority rights, and we said we must abolish Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action. We got a lot of calls from our supporters specifically because of this stance.”

On how many seats the party will be allocated once the official vote result has been confirmed, Groenewald is confident that at least a dozen MPs will be sworn in when Parliament reconvenes. This is more than triple their four seat allocation in 2014.

“We hope we can get between eight and 12 members in parliament. During the elections, I asked people to give me a mandate so I can have more time to deliver a speech in the national assembly. Small parties usually only get 3 minutes. I hope to get about 15 minutes,” Groenewald said.