Johannesburg - ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Gauteng ANC elective conference should introspect on the party’s electoral decline during the 2016 local government which saw the ANC lose two provinces to the opposition.
Ramaphosa said questions should be asked on how the decline in support could be attributed to the party’s weaknesses and declining connection with its traditional supporters.
“The 2016 local government elections, in which we saw a dramatic decline in support for the ANC, suggests that the ANC is not fulfilling people’s expectations,” said Ramaphosa.
“The results revealed much about the presence of our organisation in communities and its responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the electorate,” he said.
The President was giving the opening address at the Gauteng ANC elective conference at St Georges Hotel in Tshwane on Friday.
The ANC lost both Joburg and Tshwane to the opposition in the 2016 local government elections, but it was able keep hold of Ekurhuleni with the support of smaller opposition parties.
The large loss was also blamed on ANC supporters’ general unhappiness with former president Jacob Zuma’s presidency and corruption.
Gauteng is largely seen as possibly up for contestation at next year’s general and provincial elections, with opposition parties like the DA hoping to garner enough support to take it from the ANC
Ramaphosa said the province needs to renew its relationship with communities and grow stronger bonds.
“This Conference needs to pay attention to the relationship between the ANC structures and communities. We must measure the strength of an ANC branch not by how many members it has or how many delegates it sends to Conference, but by how centrally it is involved in the life of the community,” said Ramaphosa.
He also warned against gate-keeping and infighting and said these aspects that have come to be synonymous with ANC conferences should abandoned.
Regions and provinces were complaining that national leadership should stop interfering in voting processes, said Ramaphosa.
“Never again must our people believe that as we gather here, we are interested only in fighting for positions of leadership. Conference must be firm against all foreign practices which erode the confidence of our people in the ANC such as the manipulation of processes, gate-keeping, bulk-buying of membership, and even violence,” said Ramaphosa.
The Gauteng elective conference concludes on Sunday, with a new leadership set to be announced.