Juju hurt us, says ANC

2011-05-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The ANC has admitted that ANC youth leader Julius Malema’s racially oriented utterances hurt the party at the ballot box.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said yesterday that Malema’s remarks in the run-up to the elections, like the one that whites are criminals, alienated minority voters from the ANC and possibly contributed to its diminished support in minority areas.

Replying to a question about the impact of Malema’s comments on the decline in support and on the stay-away vote, Mantashe said he could imagine that people in minority areas (white, coloured and Indian) “would be switched off by comments they feel are racist”, but added, “we are all still too over-sensitive” about race.

He said Malema’s view is not the ANC’s view. “To say whites are criminals is not ANC policy,” he said. “Any deviation from the ANC’s policy on a non-racial society does not help the ANC at all.”

Such matters are, however, “dealt with internally”.

Mantashe did not deny that Malema will be subjected to a disciplinary hearing because of his utterances, but said that in terms of ANC policy something like that would not be discussed in the media.

“We are not ostracising Malema; he is the president of the youth league. He is in trouble with us half the time. But we have internal procedures.”

He said a “Malema phobia” exists in the country.

Malema’s spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, told Beeld: “Malema has never said whites are criminals. The SG [Mantashe] has got it wrong.

“He should go and find the real reasons.”

Mantashe also accused the demarcation board of creating white wards that favour the Democratic Alliance. “That is part of the reason why our support dropped in minority areas like Eldorado Park. It does not help society and we will discuss it with the board.”

Mantashe said the ANC is engaged in discussions about forming coalitions in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western and Northern Cape in order to take over more municipalities. The ANC won 198 municipalities nationally.

“We acknowledge a massive decline in support for the ANC in some areas. We have to do things differently in minority regions.”

David Makhura, ANC secretary in Gauteng, where the party fared third worst, said yesterday the ANC in that province is disappointed with its poor showing in Indian and coloured areas, reports Beeld’s Louise Ferreira.

“Both have historically been ANC areas,” said Makhura.

He admitted that the ANC overlooked issues close to the hearts of those communities.

Makhura and Mantashe said an analysis will be done to determine why voters stayed away or voted for other parties.

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