‘It was a difficult election’: ANC admits challenges as it looks into coalitions
‘It could have been worse,’ says party’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula has conceded the party does not appear set for a clean sweep in all municipalities, citing time constraints, internal battles and grievances about candidate selection.
Speaking to TimesLIVE on Tuesday at the national results centre in Pretoria, Mbalula said despite declining electoral support which has put the ANC below 50% in the country’s widely contested metros, they were happy with the numbers because it could have been worse.
“We love what we see on the screen for the ANC,” said Mbalula, referring to the results on display at the Electoral Commission (IEC) results centre.
“It is still early days but we’re confident we will retain most wards in the country despite lower voter turnout. It was an epic and very difficult election to execute and we did that in a short space of time. It was frightening thinking the low voter turnout will affect us badly, but it is clear we are making new inroads, retaining most of our wards,” he said.
The ANC has been mum on the possibility of going into coalitions after previously aiming for outright wins in all the councils.
Mbalula, however, conceded that to remain in power it must go into coalitions and would do so in a principled way.
“We will look at coalitions from a point of principle and at the same time decide who we’re going with. But we will not sacrifice ourselves into coalitions even when we have lost. I think the ANC will work as the opposition and work very hard because people would have rejected us in particular instances. We have gone into coalitions and most of the time we have taken a beating for things t not done by us,” he said.
The party had been hard at work campaigning for votes, pleading with disgruntled voters to give it another chance and help it return to its former glory — a position of governance in most of the country’s metros.
Asked if the party did enough to conscientise voters, Mbalula said: “It can never be enough. The time was too short but it was a wall-to-wall campaign. It could have gone worse.
“We had a lot of grievances from people against us, and we had our issues in terms of internal party battles, including candidate selection, so we were up against a storm.
“The media also became an added opposition to the ANC. It did a splendid job. The opposition must thank you for the numbers they got. You helped them a lot.”