THE ANC in the Western Cape is thrilled that its rival has not increased its majority in the municipality during Monday’s local government elections.
This is despite the party having suffered a decline too when the entire election results in the 30 councils is examined.
The ANC recorded 18.6% according to the results from the Electoral Commission of South Africa after 5pm on Wednesday.
The percentage in votes was down from the 26.26% secured five years ago.
The DA shed votes from the 63.33% won in 2016 to 55.26% at the time the preliminary results were available.
The percentages translated to 300 seats for the DA and 140 for the ANC at about 7pm.
Speaking to Independent Media, ANC provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni downplayed their own losses and was adamant that the DA has lost substantially compared to them.
Mtsweni said their rival won almost two-thirds majority in the province’s municipalities five years and the percentage was increased in 2019.
“Three years later in 2021, you can see on the scoreboard they sit below 60%,” he said.
While blaming the lower voter turnout and the rain for their performance in the province, Mtsweni was adamant that they have increased their number of wards.
“In places like Bitou, we won six wards, out of 11. In Knysna seven out of 11 and in George, we have seven out 10. We were actually taking wards from the DA.”
Pressed to accept that their support was on a downward spiral trend, Mtsweni said: “No, I can never be happy with that but I still say it depends how you define the reduced support.”
He insisted that the biggest problem all political parties had was that there was a low voter turnout.
“That is a matter we need to address. People who did not vote are traditional people who vote for the ANC. Rain in some parts of the province affected us, for that we are extremely saddened and extremely taken aback.”
Mtsweni said they were upbeat with the reduced DA majority in councils.
“Yes, we are upset. To me the story is not about the ANC gaining or losing support. The story in the Western Cape is about the people waking up to the fuss the DA is and people wake up to unmask the DA for what it is.
“As we sit we can see that DA is losing the ground.”
He said the Good party and the Patriotic Alliance, which have recorded 4.66% and 2.69% respectively, made inroads in DA strongholds.
“They have not taken wards from the ANC.”
Mtsweni was confident that his party put up a good fight in the elections after going through a rigorous process of renewal.
“We stabilised the organisation internally, especially in the Western Cape. We had a focussed campaign this time with lesser internal problems and divisions,” Mtsweni said.
He also said the ANC could build from the gains it has made.
“Somewhere and somehow is our positive message of renewal. Our message of rebuilding, our message of unity, particularly for the people of the Western Cape, is beginning to strike a chord in areas that we never thought would strike a chord.
“I can tell you, my brother, if we keep this way in 2024, I am sure that the ANC will do quite well come 2024.”
Mtsweni was convinced that the ANC was on the mend and that their local government barometer would go a long way.
“We have seen that our people are not nostalgic about our democracy and what happened in 1994. Our people really want services and we are tired of defending things that are wrong.”