Local government elections are set for 1 March in what looks as though it will be a close fight between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA). The ANC has held the majority on the city council since 2002 but DA won the previous city elections of 2000. Voter turnout could be the decisive factor as anger at the slow delivery of housing by the incumbent city government and frustration at internal party rifts could keep many people at home.
Voters who do turn out could be queuing at one of 30 new polling stations across the city. The pre-fabricated buildings, which will be used in addition to the usual schools and halls, are part of a 10 million rand project to provide some of the most under-serviced areas with structures that can be reused after the poll. Some will be converted into driver training and testing stations, others into sports facilities, clinics and crches. Seven stations are earmarked as information centres and meeting rooms. Areas benefiting from the scheme include Du Noon, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Langa and Philippi.
The initiative is the brainchild of the incumbent ANC city mayor, Nomaindia Mfeketo, who is running against Helen Zille of the DA and Simon Grindrod, the 35-year-old political novice and former hotelier of the small, recently formed centrist party Independent Democrats (ID).