The SA Communist Party (SACP) has admitted that voters punished the ANC in last week’s local government elections because of a series of issues.
These included the Nkandla scandal, the corporate capture of the state, corruption, the SABC crisis and disputes that emanated from the nomination process of candidates.
The SACP, which has been critical of the Gupta family’s reported influence over President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet, believes that these scandals led people to conclude that the ANC could not be trusted.
In an interview with The Citizen in Johannesburg yesterday, SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said the ANC and its alliance partners needed to go back to the people and discuss with them openly why it was punished.
“We must admit to ourselves that we were shocked by the response of the people,” Mapaila said.
“Look at Johannesburg, a well-run city. Why can’t we get an overwhelming victory in a place where we are generally trying our best to govern better?”
Mapaila said national political dynamics could have played a role in the elections.
“We cannot deny that the Nkandla security upgrades and corruption were the factors by which the people perceived the ANC.”
Mapaila’s position was reinforced by ANC veteran, the Reverend Frank Chikane.
He said, during a press conference yesterday, that he had given party leaders a document titled “The Soul of the ANC is Under Attack” before the municipal elections. It warned the ANC could lose support in key metros.
The document warned of a downward turn and “loss of confidence” that‚ if not curbed‚ would evolve into a freefall in which the ANC would originally lose metros and major cities before losing power in provinces.
He predicted that the ANC would be defeated in a national election in nine to 14 years.
“I never believed you could corrupt an ANC member because we fought the system. There was lots of money to buy us away. There were lots of people who had bags of money to buy you away and get you out of the struggle,” he said.
“So what has happened is that even the cadres of the movement you thought wouldn’t become corruptible‚ once in power become corruptible,” Chikane said.
Some within the ANC are said to have blamed Zuma for the party’s poor performance in the elections. There are even claims that one of the Economic Freedom Fighters conditions for a coalition partnership with the ANC is that Zuma steps down.
But Mapaila said the Zuma factor was not the only major impact on the ANC’s performance.
“A liberation movement that is doing so well in terms of social services cannot be punished for one or two mistakes in this form. We have to weigh the aggregate impact of the mistakes we are making to the overall achievements we have made.”
He also said the alliance needed to reconnect with the people.
“This reconnection with the people requires us to humble ourselves and avoid personality-driven campaigns,” said Mapaila.