ANC facing its most testing election since 1994, despite lifeline

The ANC – and other parties that missed the initial deadline for candidates’ registration in the forthcoming local
government elections – has more time to resolve its internal conflict to submit the party’s list.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has published an amendment timeline that was extended to 29 September for parties to submit candidate lists.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the timetable was generally amended.

“We have amended the election date, independent candidates, party submissions, submission of data and special votes,” she said.

Bapela said the ANC previously missed two deadlines in the process, with 94 municipalities’ submissions not filed.

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She couldn’t comment about which other parties were still busy updating their lists. Political analyst Ongama Mtimka said the ANC was experiencing transformation.

“The party has given direction to its lower structures to include candidates of good repute,” Mtimka said.

The candidate selection was so competitive that tactics of killing and intimidation have become a norm, he said.

“The ANC attitude to electoral outcomes needs to be realistic at this stage. Even if the votes drop, they must not resort to the same political arrangements of the past.”

Another political analyst, Daniel Silke, said the upcoming elections were the most testing and unpredictable elections for the ANC since 1994.

He said it was no longer one-way traffic for the ANC.

“The ANC was very factionalised internally since there were issues relating to state capture and an attempt to clean up the ANC. This is one of the points that created the messy state within the ANC,” Silke said.

He added there had always been factions within the party but it got worse in the past few years.

“State capture has exacerbated factions along with the [suspended ANC secretary-general] Ace Magashule and Jacob Zuma issues,” Silke said.

He said there was no agreement in the ANC on policies.

“The ANC policies are all over the place. There isn’t a sense that the ANC is a united policy party. There is, however, a sense that different factions and personalities are fighting among themselves,” Silke said.

He said if the party could not manage its internal affairs properly, it could have a negative effect on the national campaign.

“The party is under pressure. The ANC’s successes are no longer guaranteed versus five or 10 years ago, when the ANC would do very well in local government elections.”

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Silke added more political parties were competing for votes while smaller parties were taking votes from the ANC.

“The bottom line is at a local government level; service delivery is so poor across so many local municipalities across the country,” Silke said.

Economist Mike Schussler said it looked like the ruling party wasn’t able to resolve its internal issues, which redirected their focus away from what needed to be resolved in the country.

“The resolving of things such as high levels of unemployment, prosecuting corrupt officials, going after the looters and rioters, all these things are not being done, because the ANC seems to be inwardly focused,” Schussler said.

Instead of politicians going at each other, they should rather concentrate on getting cities and towns functioning.

“If town councils can fix sewerage, roads, electricity, water and have the buses run on time, then the economy has a chance,” he said.

Schussler said part of the reason for infighting was that many ANC members saw councillorship as a meal ticket; others saw it as an opportunity to make extra money out of corruption.


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