ANC top brass descends on KZN to campaign for local government elections
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Cape Town - The ANC has deployed its big guns to KwaZulu-Natal where President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a campaign from Saturday until Sunday ahead of the elections in November.
The party work by senior leaders takes place months after the unrest in July in the province after the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, who in a video urged the voters to back the ANC in the polls.
BREAKING NEWS— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) October 5, 2021
H.E President Zuma gives a clear line of march. pic.twitter.com/gSfWjoIcmd
While Ramaphosa previously came to the province on a government ticket to assess the damage caused, he will lead the campaign trail in Durban on Saturday with a walk-about and community meetings at Ward 95 at Folweni, KwaMakhutha and uMbumbulu.
On Sunday, Ramaphosa will woo voters in Umlazi, KwaNdengezi and KwaMkhizwana.
This will happen as national chairperson Gwede Mantashe will be in uMshwati and iMpendle in the Moses Mabhida region.
Ramaphosa and Mantsashe’s visit to the kingdom is preceded by Deputy President David Mabuza who on Friday is in a drive pushing the government’s vaccination social mobilisation campaign at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The visit also comes as the DA is facing criticism over its posters: “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes” in Phoenix earlier this week.
Other leaders of the ANC to campaign in KZN are Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Bheki Cele, who will be on the lower south coast.
University of KwaZulu-Natal political science lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said it was understandable for the senior leaders to come to the province as it did to all others.
Ndlovu said KwaZulu-Natal remained important because Zuma was no longer the president of the party and the government.
“When Zuma was the president, the ANC enjoyed overwhelming support. Now that he is no longer the president, the question is whether we are to see the same support it enjoyed,” he said in reference that Zuma’s ascension to top posts helped push its support.
But there is a twist to the deployment considering that the stakes are high.
While in uMshwati and iMpendle the ANC won comfortably in the previous elections, its fortunes have not been the same in Durban.
Its support in eThekwini Metro has been on the downward spiral trend for over a decade.
In the 2011 municipal elections, the party garnered 61.07% and this dropped to 56.01 % in the 2016 municipal election only to stand at 54.06% in the provincial vote in 2019.
Parties like the DA and IFP have seen their support bases grow and the EFF recorded 11.51% in the 2019 provincial vote in the metro, up from 3.44% it obtained in the 2016 municipal elections.
Ndlovu said there was no doubt that the ANC was worried about KwaZulu-Natal and the perceptions that the former president was persecuted, resulting in the July riots.
He said there was talk of the EFF wishing to do its utmost best in the upcoming election, and the IFP hoping to sustain the momentum from the 2016 elections.
“There is also the issue of the DA trying to make inroads in the minority communities as we saw in the last couple of days with their posters.
“The ANC wants to come in and counter the DA but also the EFF and IFP, in particular,” he said.
According to Ndlovu, the closer look at the past election results reinforced the idea that the ANC was losing ground in eThekwini.
“You can see from 2011 until 2019 that the ANC is not doing well and it is for that reason senior leadership is worried. If they can lose eThekwini, it will be a huge blow,” he added.
The ANC did not win outright in the Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela and Tshwane metros in 2016.