CAPE TOWN - The ANC’s poor performance at the polls and failure to secure coalition deals project President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership in a bad light, say political analysts.
“In fact, the RET elements within the party could be celebrating and saying he has failed.
What happened in Gauteng will be a bad reflection on President Ramaphosa. We should remember that it is unprecedented for the ANC to lose all metros.
It does not project his leadership in a good light,” said Professor Zwelinzima Ndevu, director of the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University.
“I think the EFF had no choice as it was either the DA or the ANC. However, they could use this situation in their favour by saying they are selfless and putting the interests of South Africans first.”
For the first time since the country’s democracy the ANC has lost its key metros (Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane) in Gauteng. The party received some consolation when it regained power in eThekwini on Wednesday.
The ANC’s support dropped to just over 45% at the polls, compared to 53.91% in the 2016 municipal elections.
While the party is expected to brief the media on the latest developments in local government on Thursday, Ramaphosa lamented that the party’s poor performance was a “setback” for the ANC. He was speaking to the media during the visit by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Union Buildings in Tshwane on Tuesday.
Political analyst Keith Gottschalk said it was “ironic” that voters were punishing Ramaphosa for the consequences of municipal corruption, which peaked under former President Jacob Zuma.
“The challenge to the ANC is to enable ratepayers and other municipal voters to experience an improvement in municipalities under their control before the 2026 local government elections come up,” he said.
He said the EFF voting with the DA to oust the ANC was similar to when other predominantly black parties in the City of Cape Town preferred to vote for Helen Zille as mayor in the 2006 elections.
“ANC negotiators have to make judgement calls about how much they can offer other parties to form coalitions in different towns,” he said.
CPUT political analyst Dr Kuhle Zwakala said the ANC’s “failure” or under-performance could be directly attributed to the culture of looting with impunity which had characterised the government and the ANC in the past few years.
“I make this assertion because there is an apparent overlap between local, provincial and national government elections and party preference.
“In fact, Ramaphosa has spent his first term accounting for the blunders of his predecessor. Therefore, citizens have punished the ANC for all its errors in the 2021 elections.
“Unfortunately, we have seen the instability caused by the DA-EFF coalition in the past 5 years in two major metros. More chaos can be expected in all metros where the two parties have formed coalitions,” Zwakala said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe and the party’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, did not respond to questions by deadline.