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Punishment? Fikile Mbalula responds to ANC defeat in Gauteng metros

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula claims the real punishment was voters not turning out for the party.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula claims the real punishment was voters not turning out for the party.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula has addressed his party’s bruising defeat in all Gauteng metros this week, claiming they had won the regions but opposition parties had “ganged up” on them.

He said the real punishment to the ANC was their voters not turning out for the party at the polls.

Despite winning the most votes in the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni earlier this month, the ANC did not get enough to form a majority government in any metro.

This led to their candidates losing out to the DA in all three metros after the EFF, ActionSA and other opposition parties voted for the official opposition.

After repeated calls by social media users for him to respond to the defeats, Mbalula took to Twitter on Wednesday to address those who saw it as punishment for the ruling party.

Smaller parties coming together to oust the ANC, that is what is happening in the metros. Others define it as ‘punishment,’ if there’s any punishment it is by our voters who did not come out in numbers to vote.”

He said the will of the people had to be heard and their problems addressed.

“We respect their stance, we need to address their issues.”

Less than half of those eligible to vote actually cast their ballots in the municipal elections.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) reported that 26-million South Africans were registered to vote, but only 12-million turned out, the lowest in democratic SA’s history.

Of those that voted, only 45.6% voted for ANC candidates, putting the party in danger of losing majority rule in the 2024 general elections.

Mbalula insisted that the ANC was the people’s choice in the Gauteng metros and the ANC had only been defeated by coalitions that had “ganged up” on the governing party.

“We won Joburg without an outright majority, but they decided to give Joburg to the DA. The people of Joburg voted for the ANC not the DA. But we accept the coalitions arrangement did not favour us.”

The ANC needed an urgent renewal that would “distinguish revolutionaries from chance takers”.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa also addressed the defeat, saying the election results were “a big setback” for the party, but it would accept the losses.

“We have taken heed, we have listened. This, for us, is a big setback. But it is also a big lesson and we are a party that learns very quickly. We are going to go back to the drawing board and we are going to reflect on all these setbacks,” Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called for “rebuilding” the ANC. 

Comrades, we accept the outcomes of the first council meetings, sad and painful as it is. This is a call to focus on rebuilding our beloved and glorious movement,” she tweeted.


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