The writing has been on the wall for some time with many ANC supporters feeling let down by their party, whose leader has been limping from one scandal to the next.
But only the ruling party is oblivious to this reality. The response of the ANC leadership to the low attendance at its manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth at the weekend indicates the ANC’s denialism.
The party has come up with all sorts of nonsensical excuses, going so far as to claim logistical challenges and internal sabotage.
The ANC leadership has blamed the poor showing on its provincial leaders in the Eastern Cape, saying they had conspired to make sure only a few buses brought supporters to the stadium.
Others blamed ANC regions in the province for sabotaging ANC-imposed Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan, claiming they were jealous of the remarkable turnaround he had achieved in only 10 months.
On the eve of the event, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told journalists the party was expecting a massive turnout of more than 100 000 supporters.
But the ANC failed to attract half of its targeted crowd. Party national chairperson Baleka Mbete, who was chairing the proceedings at the launch, announced that 42 000 supporters were in attendance.
This is a far cry for a party that has since its 1990 unbanning effortlessly filled to the brim mega venues like the FNB Stadium.
Regardless of what ANC spin doctors would like us to believe, the dismal turnout at the manifesto launch is indicative of the tensions and the internal rebellion within the party precipitated by the Constitutional Court judgment which found President Jacob Zuma had violated the constitution in relation to the Nkandla scandal.
This has resulted in calls from within and outside the ANC for Zuma to step down. The best thing the ANC could do under these circumstances is to acknowledge the negative impact Zuma has on the party.
Blindly rallying behind its leader and portraying him as a victim of a global conspiracy is a strategic blunder and an insult to voters just months before the crucial local government elections.