‘ANC can’t win Cape Town’
STAFF WRITERS and Own Correspondent
THE ANC’S top leadership has acknowledged openly that its bid to win back the Cape Town Metro region in next month’s local government elections appears to be a lost cause, and that it might also lose the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in its Eastern Cape heartland.
Analysts suggested this week that an ANC loss in the Tshwane metropolitan region is also a possibility. There the opposition DA appears confident it can achieve a 7 percent swing to take control of the city.
Yesterday, while on the campaign trail in the Boland where he spent the day going door-to-door in the Zwelethemba and Avian Park communities in Worcester and in Wellington and Franschhoek, a despondent Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe witnessed first-hand some of the in-fighting that is tearing at the ANC family unity and seriously hampering its election effort.
In Worcester, Motlanthe acknowledged to voters that the ANC might not be able to win back Cape Town, although he was more upbeat about the party’s chances of re-taking the Western Cape from the DA in the next general election.
“Cape Town may not be there for the taking now, but the ANC has it within itself to win the province,” he said.
The ANC would, however, win some wards with an outright majority, he predicted.
Motlanthe blamed “the comrades who broke away” to form Cope for the ANC’s poor showing in the 2009 elections.
“We suffered a great deal in the Western Cape.
“The ANC has lost about 40 wards in by-elections since the last municipal elections.”
While visiting Marta Simons, 54, an ANC stalwart, at her home in Amstelhof near Paarl, Motlanthe was visibly shocked when ANC MP and national executive committee member Annelize van Wyk had to intervene during a heated exchange between Simons and an ANC ward candidate.
Simons accused the ward candidate, Christina Hartog, a member of the delegation, of “handing” the ward to the ID “on a platter” during the last municipal elections.
She told Motlanthe that Hartog had “destroyed” the ANC’s image by spreading lies about certain individuals, ruining the ANC’s chances at the polls.
“The ANC would have been much stronger and still in control of this area had (Hartog) been honest,” said Simons.
“I’ve worked for the ANC all my life, but people are unhappy with this candidate. The new lot are worried only about themselves.”
But Hartog hit back, labelling Simons a liar.
“No! No! You can’t make me look like this in front of the deputy president,” she argued, gesturing wildly.
The commotion in Simons’s home prompted Van Wyk to intervene, while Motlanthe looked on.
Earlier, Motlanthe visited the Zwelethemba and Avian Park communities in Worcester, where he faced tough questions from voters who complained about poor service delivery, housing promises that were not fulfilled, and the lack of co-operation from local authorities.
Motlanthe told residents that the only weapon they had to bring about change was their vote.
“Use it correctly and hold your public representatives and councillors accountable once they are in those positions,” he said.
In Port Elizabeth, the ANC has embarked on an all-out campaign to stave off the opposition threat in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, as tensions over the party’s candidate lists continue to simmer ahead of next month’s elections.
President Jacob Zuma is due in the city tomorrow for door-to-door visits, while ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is set to address a rally in the former coloured township of Bethelsdorp on Sunday .
Yesterday, Malema invoked the memory of struggle stalwarts and urged people not to deny the ruling party their votes for the sake of Nelson Mandela’s health.
In an emotive annual league memorial lecture in honour of the memory of Solomon Mahlangu, who died on the gallows during the struggle against apartheid, Malema told the several hundred-strong crowd gathered in the Nangoza Jebe hall they needed to unite behind the ANC and spurn independent candidates or risk allowing the metro to fall into the hands of the opposition DA, as the Western Cape had done.
In the 2009 general elections the ANC won only 49 percent of the vote in the metro, due largely to reverberations caused by the party’s recall of former president Thabo Mbeki that led to the rupture that gave rise to Cope.
The youth leader also begged party members not to leave the ANC, warning that the DA might seize control of the metro, echoing Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi earlier this week.
Vavi had told metalworkers union Numsa’s bargaining council conference in Joburg that losing the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, in a province that has produced many great ANC leaders, would be an embarrassment to the party.
But in a statement last night, league spokesman Floyd Shivambu criticised Vavi for being “alarmist” in saying the country could end up with a “president (Helen) Zille” if there wasn’t a concerted effort to get ANC supporters to the polls.
Meanwhile Cope, the official opposition in the Eastern Cape legislature, yesterday announced former ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama as its mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
In Pretoria, the DA made promises to voters while launching its election campaign, Sapa reported.
If it took over the Tshwane council, it would fix potholes within 48 hours and faulty street and traffic lights within 24 hours, DA mayoral candidate Brandon Topham said.
He said that in the 2006 local government election there was a mere 7 percent difference in support between the ruling ANC and opposition parties.
In Joburg, the DA’s mayoral candidate Mmusi Maimane has put up his first electoral posters in the Soweto area where he grew up, and in Ekurhuleni the DA has also turned to a homegrown resident, former journalist-turned-politician Shelley Loe, in an attempt to win the mayorship of the metro council there.
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