President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is confident the ANC in Gauteng can secure a more than two thirds majority win in the 2019 national elections, if the party restores its standing in society.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the Gauteng ANC’s elective conference in Pretoria on Friday, where he said the party needs to build on the current trend of voters warming up to the ANC again.
“Recent survey results demonstrate that here in Gauteng our support has now risen. Our objective is to make it rise at beyond 70% and it is possible for us to do that,” Ramaphosa said.
“Let us go out and demonstrate to our people that this is the ANC they can once again embrace and fall in love with.”
Gauteng is expected to be one of the most fiercely contested provinces in next year’s elections, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) already announcing its intention to capitalise on its 2016 election gains to take full control of the province.
The ANC in Gauteng suffered a humbling loss in the 2016 local government elections when it lost the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros to the DA as well as an overall decline in support by 13.8%.
Ramaphosa called on delegates at the elective conference to use those losses as a reference for what is required in order to do better in next year’s polls.
“The results revealed much about the presence of our organisation in communities and its responsiveness to the needs of communities. Delegates must assess how our weaknesses as leaders contributed to the decline,” Ramaphosa said.
“Every political party is going to be looking at Gauteng and how they can continue to erode the support we have as the ANC. So the election is a key challenge we face.”
Gauteng premier and acting ANC provincial chairperson David Makhura shared Ramaphosa’s sentiments, saying the ANC needs to reclaim its position in society to ensure more of its wandering voters return.
“In communities where we live some people who had turned their backs on the ANC are returning in large numbers. People who were are once against the organisation are proudly associating with the ANC,” Makhura said.
“However we must not be complacent. We will have a long way to go. The social and economic situation, especially the escalating cost of living, can be a serious drawback to the progress.”
The rising cost of living would be one of the key issues discussed by delegates along with etolls, the expropriation of urban land other economic factors.
Both Ramaphosa and Makhura also spoke about the importance of rooting out corruption to win favour with voters again. Makhura said in Gauteng in particular, corruption was one of the top concerns among the public.
“ANC internal research also pointed out that corruption is a matter of great concern to citizens in general and ANC members in particular,” Makhura said.
“In Gauteng province corruption was one of the three major concerns of our people coming only after jobs and housing.”
Makhura also noted the misuse of cadre deployment was a growing concern which negatively impacted the ANC’s ability to serve the public.
He said the party would have to prioritise the deployment of suitably qualified leaders to improve its competence.
“Sometimes we get the best cadres and destroy them by assigning them to wrong positions that have nothing to do with what they were trained and prepared for. And they shall fail to serve the movement and the masses,” Makhura said.
“This provincial conference must pay attention to the need for Gauteng to increase the number of cadres who have the relevant skills, experience and qualifications. We are going to have a plan on this.”