'The ANC is no longer using communities as voting fodder,' says Ramaphosa during Limpopo campaign
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday said he was not worried that his face and not those of ward candidates has dominated the party’s election posters during this local government election campaign.
“In some places they have done it well and have put my face and the local person’s face. But, what I found is that each time we have gone to a community, they know the candidate because they chose the candidate themselves and that has been the innovation and the creativity on the part of the ANC,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa was speaking on the sidelines of an election campaign in Tshikhudini in Thohoyandou alongside Limpopo premier, Stanley Mathabatha.
The Sunday Times reported last week that the party had decided to use Ramaphosa’s face because it believed that his smile would secure the party an outright victory on November 1 when the country goes to the polls.
According to the report, a recent poll by the Institute of Race Relations showed that Ramaphosa is still the most popular political leader in the country and is more popular than the ANC.
Ramaphosa said getting the community involved in choosing their local candidate was part of the ANC’s renewal process.
Speaking to TimesLIVE exclusively, Ramaphosa said: “This is a part of our renewal process because through getting the community involved, we are renewing the ANC and taking the ANC back to the community back where it belongs.”
He said the ANC had moved away from choosing councillors for communities. “For me that has been a muscle stroke on our part and it makes us more accountable, more responsive and responsible to the community. So we are no longer using the community as voting fodder, they must participate. So that has been a great innovation,” said Ramaphosa.
On the campaign trail in Limpopo, Ramaphosa said when Saturday’s campaign started off, the people had not come out in large numbers for the first meeting.
“As the meetings got on, they have come out in large numbers. Limpopo is actually the home of the ANC and the people here love the ANC and in many ways, because you have such great support, I did not even need to come because, many of the people in the crowd were saying that we have already won.”
He said this cannot be taken for granted. “I was telling the comrades that we still have to work hard to drive the victory home.”
He said Limpopo and the Vhembe region provide a large number of votes for the ANC at local and national government level. “This region gives the ANC a high, it boosts our electoral outcomes so I am not worried about this place.”
As its last push to garner votes, Ramaphosa will address members at a Siyanqoba rally in Soweto’s Thokoza Park on Friday. “The last push is going to be exceptional. We have done new and different things. We have introduced our councillors, largely the young and women.”
Ramaphosa said he has told ANC members that he wants capable members, “because we must change the way local government election functions”.
On Sunday, Ramaphosa also met with local traditional and religious leaders at the Vuledzani Bulala Indoor Sports Centre. The campaign continues in Polokwane on Sunday.