EDITORIAL: ANC is not hearing the message

2017-05-28 05:58

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After the ANC’s disastrous showing in last year’s municipal elections, the party’s national executive ­committee (NEC) said: “We acknowledge and accept the message [delivered by the people].”

The NEC said the party would embark on a “serious, objective and robust introspection”, starting with the leadership. It would also “deal with perceptions of the ANC as arrogant, self-serving, soft on corruption and increasingly distant from its social base”.

Instead, the party continued its factionalism orgy, with one faction fiercely defending an arrogant, self-serving and corruptible president at the expense of the party and the country. The message from the people clearly did not get through.

This week, the ANC was dealt a bruising, albeit ­smaller, blow in the northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality of Nquthu. The Inkatha Freedom Party’s ­resounding victory – it now has 19 out of 33 seats and even snatched four wards from the ANC – shocked the ­governing ­party’s leaders. The ANC had deployed its heavyweights, including the president and his deputy, to the campaign, and ploughed plenty of money into it.

What was even more painful for the ANC was that it lost to a declining party that is well on its way to the political cemetery.

The ANC says it will “go back to the people and ­continue engaging with them about the challenges they face”. Sound familiar?

The ANC is not reading the signs and is not hearing the message. The Nquthu voters are not the so-called clever blacks and beneficiaries of white monopoly capital that the president loves to disparage; they are rural folk whose lives have improved under democracy. Many have previously entrusted their vote to the ­governing party, but now feel it can’t be trusted. They are part of the growing number of people who now attach a negative connotation to the ANC name.

It is these people – the people who no longer want to be patronised, duped, stolen from and taken for granted – who will determine the outcome of the 2019 general elections.

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