There wouldn’t have been many people predicting this, but the Freedom Front Plus – otherwise known as the Vryheidsfront Plus and abbreviated to FF+ – look set to increase their share of seats in Parliament as hundreds of thousands of voters flocked to support the minority party.
With just 40% of the vote recorded on Thursday, Freedom Front Plus had already smashed their total number of votes (165 745) from the 2014 Elections.
In fact, current projections suggest they will become the fourth-biggest political party in South Africa, claiming an honour which has belonged to the Inkatha Freedom Party for the past five years.
Who are the Freedom Front Plus?
Freedom Front Plus came to fruition in March 1994, just eight weeks before the first democratic election in South Africa. The group were founded by Constand Viljoen, after his departure from the far-right Afrikaner Volksfront. The group had sought to secede from South Africa before dissolving in 1996.
Viljoen registered the Freedom Front with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to take part in the April 1994 general elections. They claimed nine seats in Parliament, recording almost 500 000 votes.
Those would prove to be the halcyon days for the party, who wouldn’t repeat these feats for another 25 years. They have had three leaders in total: Connie Mulder had a 15-year stint after succeeding Viljoen in 2001, before Pieter Groenewald took charge in 2016.
Freedom Front Plus manifesto and policies
It’s entirely possible that the FF+ have made forward strides on the back of land expropriation. The group vehemently oppose the non-compensatory model, which would return farmland and open spaces to black South Africans.
Groenewald has recently claimed that the Khoi San of Mzansi should be the only “true” beneficiaries of expropriation. We’ve isolated a few more of their key policies, and you can read their full manifesto here.
- They want to slash the cabinet size to 16 departments: More than half of what the ANC currently have in place.
- Local communities must be able to manage their own energy, dumping Eskom in the process.
- Privatise all SOEs, slash Parliamentary salaries.
- The party want to abolish all transformation targets and eradicate BEE.
- Regionally bound autonomy, such as in provinces, must be expanded – that includes the right of Afrikaner self-determination. They also want protection for “education in the mother tongue” – specifically for Afrikaans.
- FF+’s manifesto wants to combat farm attacks with rural safety units, and relax gun ownership laws for private citizens.
FF+ election results for 2019
It’s likely that the group won’t scale the 424 555 votes they received in 1994. But this is going to be their best showing since then. It currently looks like the FF+ will claim between 2.5% – 3% of the vote. The upper limit has the potential to treble their current presence in the National Assembly to 12 seats.
Their performance in Gauteng has been spectacular, cracking the 40 000-vote mark as we near the halfway point. They have so far proved to be the fourth-most-popular party in GP, North West, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. Their consistency has been key, and they’ve certainly made a statement in these elections.