There’s never a good time to institute rolling blackouts – but moving to Stage 4 load shedding just five days before the polls open in the Local Elections has to be up there with the worst. Eskom confirmed that power cuts would intensify across South Africa on Wednesday – and that is now likely to hurt the ANC at the ballot box next week.
Local Elections: Load shedding ‘likely to cost ANC votes’
On Monday 1 November, millions of South Africans will make choose who they want to represent them on a municipal or metropolitan level. The latest polls show that both the ANC and DA may not feel as much love as they have done in the past, but this latest schedule of load shedding could genuinely have consequences for the ruling party.
Wow – disastrous development for the ANC campaign. We’re in uncharted territory here. https://t.co/PDWAEdgr6m
— Dawie Scholtz (@DawieScholtz) October 27, 2021
Stage 4 cuts may influence the electorate – expert
Why? Well, political analyst Dawie Scholtz speaks from experience: As a general rule of thumb, nothing ‘tanks support for the ANC’ quite like load shedding. Over the past 14 years, the 109-year-old organisation has been relatively lucky – the outages very rarely land during election season. This time, however, fortune has deserted them.
Stage 4 cuts will be in place until Friday. Then, until 5:00 on Saturday, Stage 2 load shedding will continue. That leaves just one day of uninterrupted power before voting day. The ANC is walking a tightrope with the public’s patience, and as far as Scholtz sees it, the whole sorry affair could have a ‘disastrous impact’ for Cyril Ramaphosa and his comrades.
“Stage 4 load shedding is disastrous development for the ANC campaign. We’re in uncharted territory here. I’ve worked on campaigns before. I’ve seen internal tracking polls. Let me tell you folks, there’s nothing that tanks ANC numbers like load shedding. It may seem like we’re used to it. But if this goes on all week, it’s going to have an impact.”