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EFF has surprising support of young white voters

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Oct 31, 2021

Probably one of the biggest surprises ahead of the 2021 Local Government Elections was the announcement by Jessica Griesel, a 19 year old white girl that she would run as a 2021/22 SRC candidate for the EFF at the University of Cape Town.

Griesel, who describes herself as ‘a follower of Karl Marx and Steve Biko’, is standing as a candidate for the EFF in the upcoming Student Representative Council elections. She recently caused a stir, and gleaned some interesting political support when she made the announcement on Twitter.

But how many other white supporters does the EFF have, and does the left aligned political party have much support among white voters in the upcoming elections?

According a survey which was taken before the 2019 elections it would appear that the EFF has a managed to elicit a consistently growing white voter base in recent years.

The “Citizen’s Survey which was taken in 2018 estimated that there were around 11 000 white voters who were likely to vote for the EFF at the ballot box.

EFF grows its support among young white voters

Since then, there have been a number of white South Africans who have publicly declared their support for the red berets, including a young fighter by the name of Jack Markowitz, and more recently Griesel.

Since then, several white South Africans have gone viral for declaring their allegiance to the EFF – perhaps none more so than Jack Markowitz. The young revolutionary hit the news headlines in November 2020 when he joined the party’s peaceful anti-racism protest outside Brackenfell High School after a group of students and teachers organised a ‘whites only’ matric dance.

Markowitz told the media at the time:

“The racism is instilled in the bones of people in Brackenfell, as it is across South Africa, but it’s more open here. I went to a private school here. We saw racism everywhere, there were white-only parties across the parties. Things have gotten worse in the last 30 years. Today, we want to have that confrontation with white citizens.”

“We are here to start a conversation about land and generational wealth. I’ve been an EFF member since I was 18. I fully agree with their message. No other party is speaking about this issue. The ANC is a neoliberal party. We, as white people, are holding onto our parents’ money. There was no healing in 1994. There needs to be mass reparations.”

The EFF has 43% of its support in Gauteng which could translate to a potential vote share of more than 1.1 million.

The EFF depends on the youth vote more than the ANC and DA and some 31% of its support base is aged between 18-24.

According to the 2019 survey the proportion of South African adults who “feel close” to the EFF grew from 5% (2 million adults) in Q2 of 2018 to 7% (2.6 million adults) in the third quarter of 2018.

It will be interesting to see how well the EFF does in the upcoming elections and whether Griesel manages to garner the support of students in the UCT elections. 

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