Malema and Zuma watch their home bases crumble

“Where is it written in the Constitution that women with long nails can’t vote?” Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema, demanded on Wednesday in his home town of Seshego, in Limpopo. “You cannot have such a patriarchal arrangement happening inside the voting station.”

His wife, Mantwa Matlala-Malema, had just been asked to remove her acrylic nails by an Electoral Commission of South Africa staff member and he bemoaned how much this crude practice must cost the nation’s women in beauty care.

Maybe Malema was trying to create an excuse for his party’s poor showing. With results now in, and the EFF getting trounced by the ANC in Malema’s own backyard, it seems like those voters know something he isn’t talking about on the campaign trail.

In Polokwane’s Ward 17, which encompasses Seshego, the ruling party secured 2 679 votes, good enough for 62.04%. The Red Berets only managed 1 329 or 30.78%.

The results will come as a stinging body shot to the EFF, who would have hoped to continue their strong push in the ward, after their 40% looked healthy behind the ANC’s 52% in the 2016 elections.


“The MOOD in Seshego is that of victory,” the EFF tweeted after Malema cast his vote at Mponegele Primary School on Wednesday. The tweet was accompanied by a cheering community waving party regalia. Someone is lying.

The commander-in-chief had to endure the taunting of Fikile Mbalula on Thursday for his home loss but can at least dish out the same treatment to his primary rival: Jacob Zuma.

Voters were by all accounts ecstatic when the former president walked in to cast his ballot. Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters were among those that greeted him in rapturous applause, clearly in favour of his recent performances.

But those cheers didn’t translate to votes. The IFP took the Nkandla municipality with 19 427 votes – 54.99%. The ANC could only manage 37.91%, 13 394 votes.

It still remains unclear, however, whether voters in the region declined to make their mark next to the ANC because Zuma is no longer there, or because he once was there.

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

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