ANC admits defeat in W Cape
Cape Town - Internal challenges and a late start to campaigning cost the ANC heavily in the Western Cape, the party's leadership in the province conceded on Sunday.
Speaking at a post-election media briefing, African National Congress Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman said the newly-elected provincial executive committee (PEC) had not had enough time to prepare.
Asked if the late start to their campaign - following the party's bruising provincial conference in mid-February, which saw him elected chairperson over Mcebisi Skwatsha - might be a big reason for their performing poorly, Fransman conceded this was a factor.
"Indeed so. The fact that we had internal challenges... We only had two months; we would have preferred 12," he said.
The ANC emerged from last Wednesday's municipal elections with just over 34% of the votes in the province, compared to the Democratic Alliance's 57%.
Fransman put a positive spin on this, indicating the party was now focusing on the next provincial election.
"This (the result) is the first instalment in a three-year plan," he said.
He also revealed some of the thinking behind the ANC's campaign strategy, saying the party's provincial executive had gone into the 2011 election in the province with a view to "hold on to what we've got".
Party provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile took this a step further, saying the ANC had actually increased its support in the region "by more than 70 000, from 2006 (election) actual numbers".
He too admitted there had not been enough time.
"The newly-elected PEC had very little time to prepare for the past election. Upon appointment, (it) was faced with a multitude of challenges.
"These ranged from a lack of resources, a bruising provincial conference and disputes about ward conferences, to an organisation which had bled support to opposition parties since 2008," he said.
Fransman said the DA had fought a good fight.
"They've won this battle," he said.
On the way forward for the ANC in the province, he said a lot of work was needed.
"We didn't win, and will have to do a lot of work to regain (ground)," Fransman said.
Mjongile accused "some local media" of running a "subtle racist campaign" in the province, which had created insecurity among white voters and led to a bigger turnout for the DA.
Fransman agreed the media had a lot to answer for.
"Media has a lot to answer for in the Western Cape, especially Die Burger."
He suggested some reporting was anti-ANC and part of a "sophisticated strategy".
"Go and look (in the newspapers) what the message was," Fransman said.