ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s comments about black people and voting was him not “owning up” to the broad dissatisfaction with the ruling party in the country, according to political analysts. Politicians should also be wary of using race as an excuse, said analyst professor Shadrack Gutto.
“In this specific instance, it is something that I think will not go well with black people.
“It is something which I don’t think he reflected on properly because he is basically saying black people don’t know what is in their interests, and as if the black section of the population is less intelligent and knowledgeable than the whites,” Gutto said.
“That, for me, is something that I will find difficult to digest.” Analyst Daniel Silke said that, rather than blaming, the ANC should try introspection after the elections.
“This is an example of Mantashe not being prepared to own up to the broad dissatisfaction that is felt among black voters in South Africa, the performance of the ANC and government and the leadership of Jacob Zuma,” he said.
“While you can find excuses for why your support base has not come out to support you, ultimately the reality on the ground was that there was a lack of enthusiasm among many of the traditional ANC supporters to come out and vote.
“So, rather than blame a body of voters, I think that the ANC should really be looking introspectively into why its support base was less happy to support it this year – that would be a far more valuable exercise for Mantashe to engage in.”
Silke said the modest gain for the DA at the expense of the ANC came from a broad range of former ANC supporters. This included middle- to working-class voters, “as we saw in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, where there was quite a healthy increase in what ultimately is a working class area”, he said. It seemed, he added, that the DA gains came from urban voters rather than rural voters.
“This was an example of South Africans using their votes in a very constructive and mature way.
“This is what elections are about. Elections are about wanting to punish those who don’t perform and to reward those who do.”