Gauteng Premier David Makhura has defended the work of his government in the province and said the beating the ANC received in four hung metros in the province, and a loss outright in Midvaal, was not a reflection on the ANC’s provincial leadership.
Business Day reported him as saying that the provincial government remained resolute in its plans: “I’m confident that for this provincial government … these election results are not a verdict on what we are doing. Every aspect of our programme — the transformation and mainstreaming, revitalisation of our township economy — over the next two and a half years of our term, we will be escalating that,” Makhura reportedly said at a media briefing about the election results in his office in Johannesburg.
He said he wanted to see governing coalitions in place in all the hung metros by August 20, giving negotiating parties just over a week. He said he was not speaking as an ANC member but as the premier.
The Gauteng premier, who is understood to be opposed to President Jacob Zuma, was hoping voters would see past the scandal-wracked president ahead of the elections, but that appears not to have happened.
Makhura told a gathering ahead of the polls: “If you have an issue with the president of the ANC … my appeal to you is: just appreciate the level of complexity in the ANC. The ANC has had its ups and downs, but it has always been more enduring than its individual leaders. Local elections are always about voting for the municipality.”
The ANC in the province has long been openly opposed to Zuma, and did not support his re-election in 2012 in Mangaung. They have also been opposed to nationally imposed projects such as as e-tolls, which have made the party less popular among provincial voters. The ANC saw support slide during the 2014 national elections, and the downward trend has now continued.