I’m midway through a report following around different political parties campaigning in the Johannesburg area. My general impression is that people in the townships are frustrated with the pace of change here. At the same time, many still feel tied to the ANC and its legacy in the anti-Apartheid struggle.

In Alexandra, people were almost uniformly furious about the lack of progress being made in alleviating their absurdly horrible housing conditions. They complained about cronyism regarding the handing out of RDP houses, the inadequacy of RDP houses, and general lack of attention paid to the struggling township. Shacks are literally on top of shacks, while dirty sewage, heaps of garbage, and unclean port-o-potty toilets line many of the streets. People openly admit, however, the ANC is the only party they will vote for if they vote at all.

In Klipspruit, a predominantly colored section of Soweto, most people were unhappy with the progress of the ANC and professed a support for the range of opposition parties: DA and COPE, as well as a smaller party with a colored candidate standing for president: the Independent Democrats and former ANC member Patricia de Lille. Klipspruit aside, Soweto, which is a predominantly black township (can’t we just call it a city instead of sticking to these Apartheid-era anachronisms), will almost certainly turn out overwhelmingly in favor of the ANC.

This election does not look to be shaping up as representative of  a sea change in perceptions of the ANC. Still, I think “All we are saying is give the ANC a chance,” doesn’t resonate like it used to. Instead of representing a clear move from past affiliations, this election points to new alliances of the near future. ANC President Jacob Zuma is considered by many a blank slate in terms of policies and who he might appoint in his cabinet. Similarly unknown are the prospects for opposition politics. Will the DA and COPE join together in an alliance? Would such an alliance include smaller parties?