(In the Picture: Former North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo addressing members of the community) Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa attend the Youth Development Imbizo at Itsoseng Stadium near Lichtenburg in North West Province. 16/11/2014.
(In the Picture: Former North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo addressing members of the community) Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa attend the Youth Development Imbizo at Itsoseng Stadium near Lichtenburg in North West Province. 16/11/2014.

ANC set for its toughest election ever

By Karabo Ngoepe Time of article published Oct 25, 2021

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THE 2021 Local Government Elections will be the most difficult for the African National Congress (ANC) to contest since 1994.

That is the view of party members who believe the field has shifted so much that voters pose challenging questions to the liberation movement.

National Executive Committee (NEC) member Supra Mahumapelo said gone are the days when voters would take at face value what was being promised by politicians.

"The people are much more educated about their needs and service delivery, unlike in 1994 and 1999. There was euphoria back then, but now we have educated people, and they are also more vocal," Mahumapelo said.

Mahumapelo said all the challenges were down to the electorate demanding answers from the ANC. He added that the governing party's internal squabbles were also not helping.

"We have more to answer to as the ANC. There are also too many problems internally with regards to how the lists were handled. The leadership should have asked those who were on the list wrongly to resign and go back to the communities and say we have fixed the mistakes," he said.

Mahumapelo also admitted that the other problems were self-inflicted with deployed party members failing to deliver services to residents.

"There are municipalities we have not done well at, to be honest. Some of our members are misbehaving and cutting corners. We have councillors that don't call community meetings," he said.

Political analysts agree with Mahumapelo.

Dr Ralph Mathekga said the internal battles were not painting a promising picture for voters, and it would not matter what the leaders say as people are now more conscious of the impacts of corruption on their daily lives.

"In the middle of this, the ANC finds itself at its weakest. People are now aware of corruption and its impact on their lives. It's an uphill battle for the ANC. Its lack of innovation is also hindering its progress," he said.

Mathekga opined that the ANC needs to bring credible individuals to leadership positions and show voters that it is ready to self-correct. Failure to do so will result in the party being taken to the cleaners, on November 1, election day.

He added that township votes saved the ANC in the past, but that it may turn out differently this time around.

"The ANC can do well in rural areas and perform poorly in the suburbs where those so-called educated electorates are located. In the past, you would see the DA doing well when votes were being tallied up from suburbs, but start to lose ground to the ANC when votes from the townships started coming in, but if it (the ANC) loses a place like Soweto, for example, it is going to struggle," Mathekga said.

Political analyst Levy Ndou said Mahumapelo's view was correct, especially about the metros with the middle class that is mobile. He added that four months ago, there were a lot of by-elections that were won by the ANC despite its many challenges.

"These elections are going to be tough mainly in the metros where the electorate is able to see progress, rates going up every day and paying for services that don't happen. There are those communities that don't care about services coming from the government. They just vote but are not bothered by the delivery and non-delivery of services.

“What Supra is saying is an acknowledgement that they have been given power and they did not do what was required of them. We also need to look at the capacity of the opposition to capitalise on the mistakes of the ANC. It's not there. DA focuses on areas where they know they will be voted (for). The DA doesn't go to a lot of rural areas," he said.

Ndou further added that it was a master stroke by the ANC to allow communities to decide who they want to see as their Ward Councillors.

"Taking their candidates to be endorsed by the communities puts those individuals in a position far better than the rest. It allows them to gauge the mood on the ground. It then becomes the requisite of the opposition to field a candidate that can compete with the candidate chosen by the community pound for pound.

“The ANC may have messed up in a ward but emerge victorious based on the individual they have fielded who is loved by the community," Ndou said.

Ndou also mentioned the lack of fanfare around the election, indicating that this could be a recipe for disaster with a poor voter turnout on November 1.

"There is no hype in this election. The mood is very low, and I don't know what political parties will have to do to encourage voters before the day. There is a possibility of a low voter turnout, and new voters might not bother to pitch on the day. Traditional voters are not going to disappoint, and those already know they are voting for," he said.

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