Johannesburg – It was painful to lose three of the biggest Gauteng metros to the DA, says ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe in South Africa.
The DA, with the help of the EFF, ActionSA and other parties, took over the metros.
Khawe said one must remember that, in 2016, the ANC emerged as a majority but the coalition of the DA and EFF collapsed that in Johannesburg and Tshwane.
“At this stage, it is not only the coalition. It was also the voter turnout, that the voters in the province chose not to go out and vote and to rather keep their votes and abstain. This is a bit clearer than 2016.
“If you look at the numbers, we still got the majority of votes but we also think that the majority of people who did not turn out at all are those who ordinarily would have voted for the ANC.”
Khawe said the ANC’s strategy, campaign and focus should be ensuring that it attended to the concerns, particularly of those who did not vote, and serviced those who voted for it.
Khawe said that the ANC had most of the wards across the province.
He said the national executive committee and the Gauteng provincial executive committees reflected on the reasons for the low voter turnout. It concluded that there were many factors involved.
“One of the biggest challenges we have, as an organisation, is to go back to the diagnosis report that we did. We, at times, behave like a patient who goes to a doctor who says: ’Change behaviour and this and that,’ but we still behave the same.
“Our own diagnosis report did show that there is concern by all South Africans that we are not really dealing with corruption in a manner that demonstrates pure commitment.
“Second, the diagnosis report did tell us about the lack of continuous engagement with communities. This is a demonstration now that our communities were saying they only see us when we want their votes. Last, the report showed that the ANC is governing as a separate entity between national, provincial and local.”
Khawe said that in the days around the elections, there had been water cuts during which Rand Water argued with municipalities and nobody spoke on behalf of the people.
“There were also electricity cuts in big townships three days before the elections, and you expect voters to wake up with excitement to go and vote?
“We have situations between Gauteng and national intervention in the high cost of living, included in that is the scrapping of e-tolls which …♂is not yet scrapped.
“We have a situation where the province has imposed section 139 in other municipalities with no full financial support.
“These are some of the things that if we want to change, we have to make sure we govern as one, collectively, within the district model.
“The other things that came from the report were the infighting and factionalism in the party… During the selection of ward councillors, there was a behaviour where some people would intimidate, threaten and treat communities badly and generally demotivate voters on the day of elections. All these things are the reason why we are declining.”
Khawe said the ANC needed to rise immediately, dust itself off and focus on serving the people.
“This is a bad period for us and perhaps what we call the last wake-up call that voters do determine what they want in their municipalities. These results are a demonstration that there is a voice that was not listened to.”
Khawe said the ANC needed to ask itself basic questions such as what happened and where to from here. – IOL