Zuma cost us votes – ANC Gauteng

2014-05-11 15:00

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Gauteng ANC leaders have told City Press that national issues within the party cost them votes in the province.

They have also criticised President Jacob Zuma’s media strategy, saying his press conference on Monday, at which he said “clever people” were the only ones talking about Nkandla, had been unnecessary and expensive at the polls.

The three said issues concerning national corruption, Nkandla and e-tolls were the main reasons the ANC lost about 10% of votes in these elections, landing them at a low 54.92% compared with 64% in 2009.

“The Siyanqoba rallies on Sunday spoke for themselves. They sent a huge message about ANC support. There was no need for another media conference.

“The president is badly advised on media strategy. He should have stayed home and rested after Sunday,” one leader said.

ANC Gauteng leaders have told City Press that national issues within the party had cost them votes in the province.

They have also criticised President Jacob Zuma’s media strategy.

They also said that his press conference on Monday, at which he said “clever people” were the only ones talking about Nkandla, had been unnecessary and expensive at the polls.

The leaders said issues concerning national corruption, Nkandla and e-tolls were the main reasons the ANC lost about 10% of votes in the elections, landing them at a low 54.92% compared with 64% in 2009.

“The Siyanqoba rallies on Sunday spoke for themselves. They sent a huge message about ANC support. There was no need for another media conference.

“The president is badly advised on media strategy. He should have stayed home and rested after Sunday,” one leader said.

“We had closed the issue around ‘clever blacks’ and people had forgotten it. But to open it just like that before elections was not strategic.”

The leaders said it was “very difficult” to convince residents of Gauteng to vote for the ANC.

“They don’t care about the roads, pothole repairs and the Bus Rapid Transit System that we implemented.

“We have done well as a province, but they care about the way the national government has handled Nkandla, corruption within the ANC and e-tolls?–those were the main issues,” said one.

ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said: “I will not respond to ghosts who speak about the ANC. Have these faceless people made a necessary analysis? You say you have spoken to the leaders of the ANC in Gauteng.

“Only David Makhura, Paul Mashatile and Nkenke Kekana can speak on behalf of the province and the ANC. These are the provincial leaders.”

Makhura, Mashatile and Kekana could not be reached for comment.

“The statistics show that we lost the most in the West Rand, Randfontein and Westonaria. That’s where Bekkersdal is, Westonaria. We were close to 80% in the last elections. It is because of the comments that woman made there,” said another leader.

The leader was referring to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, who late last year told protesting residents in Bekkersdal: “People can threaten us and say they won’t vote, but the ANC doesn’t need their dirty votes.”

According to figures calculated by the SA Institute of Race Relations for City Press, the ANC’s average vote loss across Bekkersdal was 21.67% and the DA’s average gain in the same area was 454.14%.

The leader told City Press: “If it wasn’t for us and the work we did in the last few months, we wouldn’t have this province. We had to humble ourselves and go back to the people in Bekkersdal. It was hard.”

The party also lost ground in traditional Gauteng strongholds like Dobsonville, dropping between 9% and 18% in voting districts in the township, the Institute of Race Relations found.

In Alexandra, it lost between 8% and 26% across voting districts; and in posh Sandhurst, it dropped by 16.2%.

One of the leaders said the ANC’s own internal polls in Gauteng showed that it had just 43% support before the provincial structures started their own campaigns.

“Voters are angry about Nkandla and the way the national [government] handled it. They are also angry about e-tolls.

“As Gauteng, we made a submission against e-tolls to the national government. We wanted the petrol levy to pay for the e-toll, but the vote was overturned by the national [government].

“We even thought we would have time to discuss e-tolls after the elections, but it was signed in,” said another Gauteng provincial leader.

We had closed the issue around clever blacks and people had forgotten it. But to open it just like that before elections was not strategic.

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