Mabuyane keen to ‘apply brakes to downward trend’ in ANC support

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Despite the ANC securing a convincing victory in the Eastern Cape, ANC provincial leader Oscar Mabuyane has acknowledged a difficult road lies ahead for the party.
Mabuyane has been widely touted to become the next premier of the Eastern Cape, although there has been some speculation the ANC may want a woman in this position.
On Sunday, a day after the IEC officially declared the ANC victorious, Mabuyane spoke candidly about the party’s future prospects.
He expressed concern over the decline in numbers for the party. The ANC recorded its worst performance since 1994, with 57.5% of the national vote and 68.74 % provincially.
“We have been going down and we have to find a way to apply brakes to this downward trend. A way to do that is to be closer to our people so we do not create space for these [other] mushrooming political parties,” he said.
“We have not really been effective, so we just need to increase our effectiveness.”
The big question remains whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will seek to rid the party of leaders who have been implicated in state capture and corruption.
A special national executive committee (NEC) meeting of the ANC top brass is scheduled for Monday. Ramaphosa’s cabinet is expected to be discussed between him and members of the top six on the sidelines of the meeting.
Ramaphosa “is going to make sure he appoints people with integrity; people who will work”, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said.
There have been strong indications that Ramaphosa will reduce the size of his cabinet, but Mashatile said: “It’s not only about reduction, it’s about getting efficiencies right.”
Ramaphosa’s backers plan to confront secretary-general Ace Magashule about what was seen as his negative effect on the party’s performance at the polls. ANC support dropped below 60% for the first time.
The faction led by Magashule and others loyal to former president Jacob Zuma, had intended to make Ramaphosa the scapegoat for a poor performance by the ANC.
But the results shows 643,194 people voted for the ANC at national level, but for other parties in their provinces – viewed as the “Cyril effect”.
A report by the party’s integrity commission, identifying candidates not suitable to represent the ANC in parliament as they are implicated in corruption and state capture, is expected to be tabled.
The red-flagged candidates could be asked to step aside or be ordered off the list.
Asked to respond to reports that Ramaphosa was seeking to make wholesale changes, Mabuyane was cagey.
“All other things [state capture and corruption] are an antithesis of what the ANC was formed for. It was formed for unity and uniting our people beyond parameters of race and gender. The NEC on Monday will be able to correct whatever has been put in the public domain."
He would not be drawn too much on speculation that the ANC was seeking to appoint a woman to the premiership of the province.
“The ANC is a non-sexist organisation. Any competent cadre of our movement can be a premier or president.”
Should he fill the Eastern Cape’s top post, Mabuyane said he would make good on his pre-election calls for improved economic development.
“We need a couple of projects to be done and dusted, such as the N2 highway and the Mthombo oil refinery because once those projects are completed, the Eastern Cape will never be the same again.”..

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