ANC supporters optimistic about future of party
Despite coming out of a difficult 2016, ANC supporters who attended the party’s 105th anniversary celebrations expressed their confidence in the party’s ability to turn its fortunes around.
Amidst wet and cold weather, supporters from across the country came out in their numbers to fill the 40 000 seater Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The ANC’s birthday celebrations come after a difficult 2016 which saw a shock decrease in the party’s support during the municipal elections. The party, which had 62% of the national vote in 2011, saw a decrease to 54% in 2016. It also lost control of three key metros.
But supporters who attended the anniversary celebrations said they were optimistic and excited at the opportunity for renewal 2017 presented the ANC.
“I’m here because I grew up supporting the ANC and it is without question the best party in SA and that is why I’m here celebrating,” said one supporter, Annie Mekhoe.
“I came here because I’m hopeful and I know that at least when I’m here I know that I can hold the ANC accountable” said another supporter Itumeleng Leeuw.
But the ANC’s troubles are not only limited to external criticism. In November last year the party saw, for the first time, calls from within the National Executive Committee for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
These divisions are likely to deepen as the ANC enters an important year, which will see it elect its new leadership in December.
Added to this, Zuma faces a number of legal battles in 2017 related to 783 corruption charges, which could be reinstated against him, as well as the public protector’s State of Capture report, which will play out this year.
While supporters at the stadium expressed confidence in the ANC’s leadership, some said they supported calls for Zuma to vacate office.
“We know that it is unconstitutional for Zuma to be elected as president [for a third term], he must give another ANC member a chance because we will not accept being ruled by other parties,” said supporter Nthabiseng Morake.
Another supporter, Ayanda Mnisi, believed Zuma’s term had somewhat tainted the ANC. “Zuma’s term has been counter productive and if he remains in power all the work that was done in the past would have been for nothing,” she said.
Despite this supporters said they were excited for Zuma’s address which will be delivered under the theme “unity in action”.