ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has rubbished claims that the party would have gotten 40% in the elections had a different leader — other than Cyril Ramaphosa — spearheaded the party’s bid to retain power.
Speaking to journalists at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) results operations centre in Tshwane this afternoon, Magashule said people did not vote for an individual but for the ANC.
“That’s nonsense, that’s nonsense. People are electing the ANC, people are electing the ANC. It’s not about any individual. Is comrade Mbalula saying ‘I was not going to be part of the campaign if the leader was somebody else’?
On Thursday, speaking at the IEC’s results operations centre, ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said if the elections results at the conference were not reflective of change the party would have “sunk”.
“The ANC would be where it is today [even if a different leader were to be elected], people have voted for the ANC, people are not voting any person,” Magashule said.
He also dismissed the narrative that people who voted for the ANC have done so because of the role Ramaphosa had played in the renewal of the party.
“It’s about the ANC it’s not about any individual, completely not. Imagine if you say, ‘I, Ace Magashule have campaigned and all that’. There was no way my voice would be stronger than branches of the ANC on the ground, volunteers of the ANC and communities. The people who actually made us win elections are volunteers, it’s communities, it’s people who love the ANC. There is no way you can talk about any individual in the ANC, the ANC has never operated that way,” Magashule explained.
He also blamed the weather for the fact that the ANC had not thus far received an overwhelming majority of votes. With 91.67% of votes counted by late afternoon, the ANC is sitting at 57.56%.
Magashule said in some parts of the Free State, for example, the weather was so bad that it prevented people from coming out in their numbers to vote. He said in Botshabelo there were 12 IEC voting stations that were flooded.
“Before the elections I went to a town in Kroonstad, I went to Botshabelo, I went to Parys. People could not move because the water was almost close to the knees. We lost a lot of people who really wanted to vote. And we are not IEC, we tried to say voting hours must be extended but even if they were going to extend, in parts of Botshabelo and even Bloemfontein it rained until after 12 o’clock midnight, so the weather was not on our side,” Magashule added.
He said even though in KwaZulu-Natal, where the ANC has ceded ground to the IFP in the polls, it was not for lack of trying. Magashule campaigned in that province with former president Jacob Zuma and said if Zuma had not joined in the campaign trail, the outcome could have been worse.
“Imagine if President Zuma did not campaign, what was going to be the outcome? I think all of us played our role because the ANC is not about any individual.”