Ruling party morality will shape ANC Gauteng’s 2019 outcome – Mashatile
Blaming the ANC’s Gauteng leaders for the party’s poor electoral performance in the August municipal elections is a “false argument” that ignores the difficulties facing the party, says the province’s ANC chairperson, Paul Mashatile.
The Gauteng leaders have been the most vocal in criticising the leadership of President Jacob Zuma. As far back as April last year, they called for Zuma to “do the right thing” following the Nkandla judgment.
They came under fire after losing the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Mogale City municipalities to the Democratic Alliance. The pro-Zuma group has, on several occasions, tried to get the Gauteng provincial executive committee disbanded.
“Those who were making that allegation knew very well that it was a false argument and it remains so today,” Mashatile said.
He said the ANC has to fix the moral degeneration that has crept into the party if it is to improve its fortunes ahead of the 2019 national elections.
“The research indicated what the problems were long before the elections; we discussed them in the NEC [national executive committee] and they were very clear that these are the issues.
And when we performed badly the way we did, we came back to the NEC and said these are the issues,” said Mashatile.
Research before the elections had already anticipated that the ANC was likely to lose two metros in Gauteng as well as the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape.
The party had been dented by a number of actions, including Zuma’s sudden axing of then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, which sparked fears of a ratings downgrade, and the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla.
With urban voters using the polls to voice their unhappiness with the ANC, Gauteng bore the brunt of the dissatisfaction, something Mashatile said was out the provincial executive committee’s hands.
“We knew that our comrades were doing well in Jo’burg, and various other municipalities,” he said. “We were doing well, but there were issues that the voters were concerned about in the greater ANC, so they stayed away. There’s nothing the PEC [provincial executive committee] could do.”
Now there are concerns that the ANC may lose control over Gauteng in 2019 because the party continues to face leadership problems.
The DA has already begun its #Change2019 election campaign, which it hopes will secure the party control in the province after its victory in two metros. The Economic Freedom Fighters have also set their sights on scoring big with disgruntled Gauteng voters.
The ANC is consumed with internal struggles, the most recent being allegations of state capture against the Guptas and their alleged co-opting of ANC ministers.
Mashatile welcomed the decision to establish a judicial commission of inquiry to look into state capture and believed being seen to take action on matters such as the leaked Gupta emails would restore public confidence in the ANC.
“Our people think we no longer espouse the values of OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela. We need to show them that we are doing everything to espouse those values. If we do so, we will definitely win back their confidence and we will win the elections come 2019.”
The party’s national policy conference starts on Friday and Gauteng ANC members are to call on the ANC to prioritise rebuilding its moral integrity to ensure success in the 2019 elections. The party has set aside two of the six days at the conference to focus on reviewing the state of the organisation.