#LGE2016: Cyril Ramaphosa leads the ANC's attempt to restore confidence in supporters
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived at the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) national results operation centre (NROC) in Tshwane on Friday afternoon, embracing the party’s secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, as he reached the ANC’s desk in the centre. Both leaders are trying to restore confidence in the party.
After his tour of the NROC, Ramaphosa teased the media with his thoughts on the IEC. After he politely commended the organisation, Ramaphosa got down to the business everyone wanted: an ANC reaction to the party’s limp results in the election.
According to the IEC’s results, the ANC has received almost 15 million votes out of 26 million registered voters and this, Ramaphosa said, could not be dismissed.
“This is a phenomenal achievement,” he said.
“These are real, live South Africans who have demonstrated confidence in the ANC.”
But the ANC has lost support in three of the country’s biggest metros.
The party has conceded defeat in Nelson Mandela Bay and is currently slightly behind the DA in the city of Tshwane and the city of Johannesburg. In past elections, the ANC comfortably led these metros.
“I think the metros are still being finalised, as far as I can see. I think it would be unwise for anyone to give a definitive conclusion on how the metros are going to pan out,” Ramaphosa said.
“This is not a cliché, but the ANC remains hopeful that we will emerge as the leading party in those metros,” he continued.
The ANC leader also had a warning for citizens who have cast the ANC out of the race.
“Obviously, we wait until the story of the metros comes out. I’m sure once it comes out, people will be surprised that the ANC, who they thought would be on its knees falling, will be rising to the top once again,” he said.
Mantashe made similar comments to the Mail & Guardian. He said the ANC could still retain control of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality, which has proved to be one of the party’s most costly losses. The ANC has been involved in coalition talks, Mantashe said, but he could not confirm who the party had been speaking with.
In his press briefing on Friday, Ramaphosa concluded that it was too early for anyone to make an analysis on the results that have come out so far.
“It is always premature to read somebody’s tombstone before they die,” the deputy president said.
“Let us wait until the full results are out and then we will do a proper analysis.”
Before wrapping up his conference, Ramaphosa also addressed critics who have called the ANC arrogant.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu on Thursday called the ANC an arrogant party, and critics of the party have said it is one of the ruling party’s failures in its leadership. But Ramaphosa echoed what President jacob Zuma said at the Siyanqoba Rally, calling the ANC a party that listens to its people.
“They think that we are arrogant, they think that we are self-centred, they think that we are self-serving, and I’d like to dispute that and say we are a listening organisation.”
Results for the City of Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg are expected later today, but so far the polls show that the DA has gained ground in the metros, putting the ANC under pressure.