ANC says Zuma is the only face of its 2014 campaign

2013-10-02 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma is the face of the ANC’s 2014 election campaign in each province, come what may.

This was the reaction of Nkenke Kekana, ANC spokesperson in Gauteng, to a report that ANC members in Gauteng had approached former president Thabo Mbeki to help garner votes from the black middle class.

Kekana said provinces could not conduct their own campaigns. “There is only one campaign, it is how we do things, and the president is the face of this campaign.”

The ANC has in the past few days struggled to enforce this message after its secretary-general in Gauteng, David Makhura, told the Sunday Times his province had turned to Mbeki for help.

Nomvula Mokonyane, Gauteng’s premier, defended Zuma and said he could communicate as well as Mbeki with the middle class, the Sowetan reported.

Political analysts said it was clear that the ANC in Gauteng do not deem Zuma to be the right face to win the middle class vote.

Opinion polls held this year showed that support for Zuma is considerably lower in urban than in rural areas and he is not popular in Gauteng.

Emeritus professor John Simpson from the University of Cape Town had in the past year presented a profile of South Africa’s black middle class.

It showed that 45% of the group live in Gauteng.

Simpson said they are economically very active, informed, outspoken and place a high value on education. This is a group that is growing fast, with a lot of buying power and influence.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the black middle class increasingly question Zuma’s abilities as a leader.

Dr Frans Cronjé, CEO of the SA Institute for Race Relations, said it was not strange that the ANC, and especially Zuma, were losing increasing support among middle class voters.

“The expectations of the middle class are increasing fast and in an economy with a hostile attitude towards entrepreneurs, the ANC cannot expect to maintain its support among the middle class,” he said.

Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, declined to say if Mbeki had agreed to help the ANC. He said Mbeki would act in accordance with the wishes of the ANC’s leadership.

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