Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s absence may affect the party’s showing in the local government elections.
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s absence may affect the party’s showing in the local government elections.

ANALYSIS: Magashule’s absence may dent ANC support in elections

By Willem Phungula Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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DURBAN - FOR the first time in its history and since the dawn of democracy, the ANC under its current President Cyril Ramaphosa will be contesting an election without an elected secretary general.

This has led to wide speculation from some political analysts and insiders who felt that ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s supporters may want to punish the ANC by not going out to vote in the upcoming local government elections.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, Magashule said the party was in trouble, adding that things were happening now, which were never before seen in the history of the organisation.

Magashule said although he could not speak about the position of secretary-general as he was still suspended, the ANC had never been in a state where people were expected to campaign for themselves because there were no resources.

“The organisation has become the party of the rich. It is in trouble, but I would not want to see the party being punished. At the same time, volunteers are finding it difficult to campaign under these conditions.”

This was somewhat echoed by political analyst and commentator Ralph Mathekga who noted that for the first time in the ANC’s history, it would contest the elections without the elected secretary-general.

He said the secretary-general was the engine room for the party, who was supposed to organise branches and prepare campaign strategies for them.

The secretary-general, Mathekga further stated, was the person who was supposed to be marshalling branches during the campaign, not the president who was focused on government duties.

He said it would be impossible for ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte to speak to the branches, especially those who support Magashule, because many felt he was being persecuted.

“The ANC is very weak and divided going into these elections. The secretary-general of any organisation is always the key. He is like a chief executive officer of the company so his absence during this crucial period will have a negative impact because those who support him may use the opportunity to fight back by staying away from the elections as a form of protesting against his suspension. It's never easy to work in the position of a suspended leader because he and his supporters take you as one of the people who engineered his suspension,” said Mathekga.

Further, he said if the ANC’s internal problems did not have an impact, it would be due to weak opposition in the country, rather than the ruling party doing well.

“The organisation is divided. Besides anger due to Magashule’s suspension, many are still unhappy about former president Jacob Zuma's incarceration, some who were angered by the manipulation of lists for councillor candidates have registered as independents so all these factors combined are not good for the organisation that wants to win elections,” said Mathekga.

EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza said it was very likely that the ANC’s problems would benefit the opposition because its supporters may abstain from voting.

He said the secretary-general was like a driver and the ANC was moving like a headless chicken in the run-up to the November 1 elections.

“This is the beginning of an end for the ANC. There is no party beset by problems like the ANC. It has all the problems you can think of, be it technically, financially, internal squabbles, suspension of its secretary-general. The signs of what is likely to happen in the elections has already been felt when Soweto residents rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa. Our party has been growing since it contested elections for the first time in 2014 so we are expecting an increase and even winning municipalities this time around and have our own identity,” said Khoza.

He added that many independent candidates were from the ANC and that would have an impact on the vote.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party did not believe the absence of Magashule would have a negative impact because these were local government elections which in the main were the responsibility of the local leadership.

Daily News

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