Ebrahim Rasool says ANC is out of ICU in the Western Cape

Ebrahim Rasool, the ANC elections head in the Western Cape, voted in Pinelands, Cape Town, on May 8 2018.
Ebrahim Rasool, the ANC elections head in the Western Cape, voted in Pinelands, Cape Town, on May 8 2018.
Image: Esa Alexander

The ANC in the Western Cape is confident that the party is out of the ICU it found itself in in 2016 when it garnered only 26% of the support during the local government polls.

Speaking to TimesLIVE shortly after casting his vote in Pinelands on Wednesday, the party's elections head in the province Ebrahim Rasool said his aim was to get the ANC out of the ICU into the recovery room. The ICU being the 26% support the party had during the 2016 local government elections and the recovery room being in the 30% region.

Rasool said internal polls had put the provincial ANC at 38% going into these elections. “And now that we are in the recovery room, I want us to be discharged. That's at the door of being discharged,” he continued with his hospital analogy.

The ANC appointed Rasool in April 2018 to head its elections campaign in the only province not governed by the party. He had been out of active politics for almost a decade, after the party removed him as Western Cape premier in July 2008. He was appointed SA's ambassador to the US by then President Jacob Zuma in 2010, where Rasool spent five years. Afterwards, he focused on his World for All Foundation and his talks about the South African model of dealing with discrimination and building coalitions.

Rasool revealed that he had felt “less invested personally” in the campaign he led for the past year when compared with previous campaigns in 1999 and 2004.

“In all those others [campaigns], I was slated for premier. In 1999, I was the premier candidate, in 2014 I was ANC chairperson and this one, we had the comfort of an underdog...”

Capetonians woke up to pouring rain and freezing cold weather on Wednesday, the day of national and provincial elections. Inclement weather is known to impact on voter turnout, especially in poor communities where there are no roads, pavements and immediate transport.

Rasool revealed that his party had organised transport to ensure that its voters cast their votes despite the rainy and cold weather in the province.

“I think what the ANC has done is put in place a transport plan in which we have hired at local level some taxis as well as given some comrades petrol money in order for us to mitigate some of these difficulties with regard to the weather,” he said.

The party's volunteers would also have to be creative and turn black garbage bags into rain coats as they go to assist communities, he said.

“I think that preferably we want our voters to be more weather proof than the opposition voters,” added Rasool.