The African National Congress cannot satisfy everyone and will not be ungrateful winners in this year's elections, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Sunday.
“The ANC can't win a whopping 62 percent and then complain about the other 38 percent,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
“We would be ungrateful winners by questioning how we lost that 38 percent.”
Gigaba, who was also the head of the ANC’s election campaign, said the ruling party was humbled.
“We are very grateful winners. We are humbled. We are not complaining at all. We will not seek to try and satisfy everyone.”
The party believed the media were against it in the run-up to the national and provincial elections.
“You campaigned hard against the ANC and we beat you. We defeated you,” Gigaba told journalists.
“We know you never loved us. And we don't have a problem with that. Our only concern was whether the people loved and trusted us.”
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe added that the negative campaigning did not work.
“Despite the negative campaigning from opposition parties, the media and many other forces... South African voters resoundingly communicated a vote of no confidence against those who seek to undermine and negate the significant strides our country has made in the last two decades of freedom.”
Mantashe said some people were trying to find a scapegoat to blame for the party's loss of support and the loss of seats in Parliament.
“Yes, we lost seats, but we have 62 plus (percent). This has no effect on government. Losing a seat for any political party is an issue. Some are trying to find a scapegoat for the loss of support.”
The outcome of the general elections showed the ANC's support was rock-solid, he said.
“Since 1994, the ANC has maintained the support of more than 62 percent of the electorate, proving that our base is rock solid.”
Mantashe added that people in the so-called “hotspots” voted overwhelmingly for the ruling party.
“This has sent a clear message that supports our often-stated position that the genuine grievances of our people should not be used opportunistically.”
Mantashe explained that genuine concerns did not include demands that government officials be removed from their jobs. He said when communities protested to demand the removal of mayors or councillors, it did not mean it was a service delivery protest.
He said the ANC had 20 years of experience and would redouble its efforts in the next administration to improve service delivery.
“Having the experience will help us perform better. We have no excuse, no reason not to improve,” Mantashe said.
Gigaba said the party would analyse voting patterns in the election. “We must look at the voting patterns of the white community, the black middle-class... and then we can do a proper analysis.”
The party's Gauteng branch said in a statement it was humbled that Gauteng residents had chosen it to take the province forward.
“We are humbled by the people of Gauteng... We dismiss with contempt the malicious media reports citing nameless and faceless sources blaming our results on our organisation at national level. The province is a coveted prize for all parties, and we are pleased to retain a clear majority,” it said in a statement.
On Saturday, a tense calm held in Alexandra township in Gauteng after post-election rioting on Friday night in which police arrested 59 people.
Reading provincial results, Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula confirmed that the gap between the two main parties had narrowed in Gauteng, with the Democratic Alliance securing 23 seats to the ANC's 40.
Though the ANC maintained its outright majority, it shed more than 10 percentage points to finish at 53 percent, while the DA's support grew by 40 percent. - Sapa