Only voter loyalty can save ANC at 2024 election – analyst

With the 2024 general election fast approaching, pressure is mounting for the ANC to change course on crucial matters of governance.

Developmental and sustainable service delivery, ethical conduct, sound financial management, and competent administration remain a top priority for South Africans who are expected to exercise suffrage at the polls to determine the future of the ANC in government.

It is a little less than two years to go for the country to elect the leadership they prefer, and the opposition parties are plotting to dethrone the ruling party, further placing the ANC under severe pressure, as the party has a lot of work to do in a short space of time.

The ruling party held its 55th National Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in December and President Cyril Ramaphosa emerged for a second term along with some of his supporters who were elected to the party’s highest decision-making structure.

All eyes are set on them to see if they will deliver on longstanding promises and the party’s catchphrase “renewal”, which was invoked in an attempt to restore the organisation back to its former glory.

According to a survey conducted by the Brenthurst Foundation in 2022, the ANC is likely to poll under 50% in 2024.

The survey reveals that about 80% of the voters and 66% of ANC voters in particular believe the country is going in the wrong direction. However, compared to opposition parties including the DA, EFF, and ActionSA, it remains the most preferred party.

Political analyst and senior lecturer at the Wits School of Governance Hlengiwe Ndlovu believes the ANC stands a great chance of being voted back into power because of voter loyalty.

According to Ndlovu, a decrease in voter turnout is not as a result of voters shifting interest but voter apathy. She said voters are apathetic about voting because of a lack of delivery on promises made.

A cabinet reshuffle is looming and it remains to be seen if it will have an effect on the ANC’s campaign and voter turnout at elections. The outgoing cabinet did not deliver on its mandate over the past five years, Ndlovu lamented, notwithstanding the challenges they each faced.

“There were a lot of challenges for all of them including the president. Some of them are coming from a full five-year term while others were reshuffled on the way to occupy the positions but overall, there are big challenges in governance from a whole lot of factors,” Ndlovu said.

“Everyone has their own different kind of challenges but as a collective, we know they battled the likes of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and Eskom, which was their greatest challenge.

“In terms of their performance, I would say they were highly challenged by a lot of ethical issues in terms of what they needed to do, what they did, and what they did not do. But in essence, they have not done much for South Africans in terms of improving the country from what it was five years ago.”

The ruling party’s immediate challenge is Eskom, which has been faced with massive energy crises for the past 15 years and is getting worse by the year.

The crisis, alias loadshedding, does not only impact the daily lives of people and their business operations, but may also be seen as a threat capable of driving the country’s economy into a recession.

Ndlovu said the ANC must kiss its purported victory at the elections in 2024 goodbye, if it fails to take care of Eskom.

“If the ANC does not take care of Eskom, they must just forget about winning the 2024 election, perhaps they are aware of this, hence [there are plans to] move it [Eskom] to the Minerals and Energy Department to try and turn the situation around”.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa, who individually is under siege, also needs to raise his socks to regain the trust of voters. However, he cannot do this on his own. Ndlovu said the president will need strong support going forward.

“Since Ramaphosa emerged for a second term at Nasrec last year, I think he needs to surround himself with loyal people, he needs people he can trust, people who will have his back to protect his interests and image. This must be a very powerful group of people.

“We’ve already seen that some of the people that emerged in the NEC [national executive committee] are very strong supporters of the president, he is going to need them.”

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