We have ourselves to blame for poll defeat’

Johannesburg- President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered a frank assessment of the ANC’s recent poor performance during the local elections, saying the party has itself to blame for its losses.

Ramaphosa said people have seen that a weak and divided ANC cannot address their concerns and needs.

“In assessing the reasons for our poor electoral showing, we must acknowledge that probably the most critical factors are those that have to do with the state of the ANC and our performance in government,” he said.

“We said that many municipalities have not delivered as they should have; that there is corruption, waste and underspending in many councils; and that in several communities water is lost through leaks due to poor maintenance, electricity supply is not stable and refuse is not collected regularly,” said Ramaphosa during his address to a closed meeting of the party’s caucus in parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Ramaphosa’s comments came after the governing party secured below 50% of the national vote during the November 1 elections. It is the first time the party has scored below 50% in the last 12 elections, only managing to get an outright majority in two out of eight metros.

Ramaphosa noted the party had to conduct an election campaign under Covid-19 conditions and with “severely limited resources”.  He said the party’s performance was linked to a lower voter turnout, warning that people’s failure to turn up to vote hampered efforts to build an active citizenry and the legitimacy of local government.

“By not voting, they have sent a clear message that the ANC is not living up to their expectations,” he said.

Ramaphosa addressed his party’s parliamentary caucus following a similar reflection by the ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) last weekend.

The governing party lost the rich metropolitan municipalities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng.

Sunday World has established that the PEC had identified corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and poor service delivery as some of the factors that cost the organisation votes.

“We reflected that corruption, poor service delivery, PPEs, our own conduct, and attacking the brand in public are amongst the reasons [for poor performance],” a PEC member said.

This comes amid ANC national executive committee plans to meet next week to assess the party’s electoral performance, among other issues.

The meeting will also prepare the party’s January 8 statement, which sets out priorities for next year, during which the organisation will also hold its elective conference in December.

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