Luthuli House’s 40-day election battle plan

ANC head of elections Mdumiseni Ntuli has presented to the party’s national executive committee (NEC) the backup plan for the next 40 days between now and the May 29 general elections, focusing on voter contact, sectoral meetings, accelerating service delivery, and aggressive advertising by government departments on service delivery success stories.

In terms of the plan, President Cyril Ramaphosa would become a common feature in big cities and towns, where he would interact with mainly young and first-time voters, including a dialogue on their own aspirations and dreams. Ramaphosa’s public and community meeting engagements would also intensify.

Ntuli told a virtual meeting of the NEC about two weeks ago that the plan would only become effective when implemented with discipline, adding that it would otherwise not be possible for the plan to produce the desired results or outcome.

He noted that last year, the ANC agreed to target 11-million votes to win the May 29 election, and there were at least 27.6 million South Africans registered on the voters’ roll. Assuming that the turnout would be around 70%, that would be about 19-million people voting, and half of that would be about 10-million, and 57% would represent about 11-million voters.

But how will that be achieved? Ntuli said the answer was for the ANC to focus on its traditional voter base and convince them to come out and vote for the party on election day.

He said that in the past, loyal ANC voters would boycott elections instead of voting for the opposition. “So the primary target for the ANC is to go to our base and energise them to go out and vote for the ANC.”

He said the second target was to position the ANC as an attractive party for first-time voters, and the party could not be caught napping on that front.

Provinces that the party targeted for growth included the Western Cape, Free State and North West, he said, adding that accelerated service delivery by the respective provinces where the ANC governed was key to bolstering and keeping the party’s electoral support high.

Ntuli said voter contact was among the three areas of intervention identified, which could be achieved through door-to-door campaigns, social media engagements, one-on-one interactions with the voters, and sectoral meetings. The other areas of intervention included tracking performance and outputs, training, and research to support volunteers and lobbyists.

He said that for Ramaphosa’s deployment, the ANC should target “areas where there were challenges in the past; these challenges have been resolved so that when the president is addressing the community, he’s able to say, “We know that yesterday you were facing a problem of the following, and I’m now aware that the government in the province or in the municipality or national has intervened and the situation is no longer as it was yesterday’.”

That way, said Ntuli, communities would notice that service delivery problems were being attended to. “That is the area of the work that we want to associate with the president because, between now and the elections, we do not want to see a situation where the president would appear in a place of crisis.”

He said the party designated Fridays for sectoral meetings, and each region must comply. Where the plan was to host 200 people and only 50 turned out, ANC volunteers must be collected to fill up the venue so that it looks like a sectoral meeting.

“We don’t want that, but as people who are running the campaign, we must not deceive ourselves,” he said.

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