Well, as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tries to wrap up the count in the 2016 local government elections results, at 99% done after lunchtime, people were still asking where President Jacob Zuma was amid the poor results for the ANC in Gauteng’s big metros.
News broke that the party even cancelled its “victory party”.
South Africa being a country of funny-meme-loving people, a lot took a guess as to the answer, with someone suggesting that Zuma might have gone to OR Tambo International airport to welcome Jesus. This was a reference to the president’s vow that the ANC would rule until the Christian messiah returned.
This was something he repeated while doing a door-to-door campaign in Tshwane with David Makhura, Nomvula Mokonyane, Thoko Didiza, Fikile Mbalula, Mapiti Matsena and Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
Now the IEC has indicated that the Democratic Alliance won Tshwane, albeit without a majority, and the president’s absence in the public sphere was all the more conspicuous.
Someone joked that not all the metros were lost, saying the ANC still had Metro FM, a clear jab at the fact that the SABC is often mocked as another government department, with COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng the “Minister of the SABC”.
“Whenever JZ [Jacob Zuma] has a setback, he ‘applies his mind’ to it for a few weeks, then says ‘Heh heh’. Don’t worry, he’ll be back.
#WhereIsZuma,” tweeted Tom Eaton, @TomEatonSA.
Even though the ANC lost Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane, they won a majority of the national vote.
Twitter user Mike suggested that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe may know something about the president’s whereabouts:
— Mike (@mike_superb) August 6, 2016
— Julaza (@SabeloMabida) August 6, 2016
— Miss Adams (@LittleMsMercy) August 6, 2016
Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party had a clear message for the voters about jobs and better service delivery in municipalities, while the ANC had nothing of substance to offer.
Maimane praised the electorate for coming out in numbers during Wednesday’s municipal elections and growing his party, saying the DA’s support had grown in all communities, particularity in areas that were formerly ANC strongholds. He said it was a sign that the DA was not just for white people, but everyone from all races.
He added that he would not be rushing into forming governments because he wanted the project of freedom to continue and it was important that service delivery be improved, joblessness reduced and corruption expunged.
Results from Friday showed that the DA had already wrested Nelson Mandela Bay from the ANC.
“Nationally, the elections for the ANC have not been a good story to tell. In fact, they’ve collapsed from 64.8% in 2006 to 61.9 percent in 2011, and now to 54% in 2016,” Maimane said.
“On the other side, the DA has grown from 16.2% in 2006 to 23.9 percent in 2011, and now, prospectively, to 27.1 percent in 2016.” – Additional reporting by ANA