ANC mum on voter target

2013-07-21 10:00

The ANC has decided to keep its voter target for next year’s general elections a secret.

Research on how the ANC was viewed by the voting public since 1994 was submitted to the party’s national executive committee lekgotla in Pretoria over the weekend.

The research was commissioned by the ANC.

The party is understood to be worried about its electoral prospects.

“The sense was we shouldn’t go for (electoral) percentages because once you do, the media hammers you when you don’t achieve that percentage.

“So we agreed that we shouldn’t say what the target is. There is a sense of worry, but we are not frustrated,” said a source who attended the meeting. The document was not released to the lekgotla delegates to avoid media leaks.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is more confident. At the eThekwini regional general council meeting in Durban yesterday, deputy provincial chair Willies Mchunu told delegates the party was aiming for 70% in the 2014 poll.

Although the party’s prospects look strong in KwaZulu-Natal, leaders in Gauteng and the Northern Cape are worried that opposition parties would narrow the gap further, or even win the elections by means of a coalition next year.

The ANC’s hopes of winning back the Western Cape from the DA are, however, looking slim.

A leader from that province said the party would focus on getting the coloured vote as the white vote was a “lost case”.

New parties like Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang and Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) could also chip away at the ANC’s support next year.

ANC strategists have privately expressed worry that the EFF has been poaching its members and branch leaders, especially from the embattled youth league, and that some were campaigning against the ANC from the inside.

Yesterday, the lekgotla delegates spent most of their time in commissions discussing the five government priorities of education, health, jobs, and the fight against crime and corruption.

The party added a sixth commission focusing on local government because the research pointed out that most of the dissatisfaction with the party stemmed from local government.

The source said the meeting pointed out that local government was one of the priorities that the ANC should fix.

Local government is one of the three Cabinet portfolios that President Jacob Zuma reshuffled two weeks ago. Former minister Richard Baloyi was axed from the Cabinet after a lacklustre performance, while former deputy rural development minister Lechesa Tsenoli was appointed in his place.

Earlier, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the lekgotla would discuss the performance of government since Zuma took over in 2009 and what remained to be done before the 2014 polls.

In his opening address on Friday, Zuma expressed concerns about the state of the country’s economy. The party has proposed the setting up of a commission to look into boosting economic growth and redistribution.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu could not be reached for comment last night.

– Additional reporting by Paddy Harper

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