Reproducing Toxic Election Campaigns: Negative Campaigning and Race-Based Politics in the Western Cape

The 2014 election in the Western Cape was once again a high-stakes,
fiercely-contested affair. Political parties saw the Western Cape as an ‘open
race’ and the province became the centre of vigorous campaign efforts in
the lead-up to the election. The African National Congress (ANC), which
had lost control of the province because its vote share dropped from 45%
in 2004 to 32% in 2009, hoped to unseat the Democratic Alliance (DA),
which had won in 2009 by a very narrow margin (51%). The ANC felt
that it had done enough to regain control of the province, especially in
light of deep-seated disillusionment in many communities and the violent
protests that took place prior to the election.While the ANC maintained its
support base, winning votes from 33% of the provincial electorate, the type
of identity-based campaign it pursued combined with other factors to work
to the DA’s advantage. Despite the fact that the DA also engaged in race-based campaigning it won 59% of the provincial vote. This was obtained
at the expense of small parties, who received negligible support in the 2014
election. Only the Economic Freedom Fighters and the African Christian
Democratic Party won enough votes to obtain a seat each in the provincial
legislature. This article examines electoral dynamics in the Western Cape,
which saw the consolidation of DA support in the province. It focuses on the
2014 election campaign and the extent to which the negative campaign cycle
evident in previous elections continued during the 2014 election campaign.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: ANC, DA, democratic liberalism, NNP, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Western Cape
journal of african elections vol14 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa