A worrying pattern of electoral losses in almost all the country’s major cities during the elections last year will be the centre of the discussion at the ANC’s midterm conference in October. ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe says the party aims to reverse its loss of votes in major cities in the 2016 municipal elections by looking closely at the type of leaders it has deployed and whether they have the confidence of the communities in which they live. Speaking to City Press ahead of the ANC’s upcoming national general council (NGC) in October, Radebe said “the quality of service delivery affected the attitude of voters”. The ANC was hard-pressed to come up with definite proposals on local government in light of next year’s municipal elections. A discussion document in preparation for the NGC noted that, except in Buffalo City in Eastern Cape, the ANC’s support had declined in metros by an aggregate of 10.3 percentage points, with the EFF gaining 11.4% and the DA increasing its support by 6.5 percentage points. The document, titled “Balance of Forces”, also noted that the EFF had secured its largest support in informal settlements, though it had also performed well in some black formal settlements. The document on legislature and governance concluded that the overall plan for the ANC would be to “consolidate the [its] electoral base, recover the lost electorate and advance into new electoral support”. Radebe said there was there was “a general emerging view that more focus should be put at local government, including deploying senior cadres at that level”. He cited as an example the appointment of SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan as mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in Eastern Cape. “We can make a prognosis that the ANC is moving gradually towards a situation where we are going to be seeing many senior leaders at local government level,” said Radebe. The department of public service and administration was discussing ways to manage “the circulation of public servants within government territory” with a view to find a formula that could allow people to move around the system without being affected by salary discrepancies. ANC head of the communications sub-committee Lindiwe Zulu said there had been a trend in the past 20 years of the ANC government in which people used their position in the party to push their way into municipal administration posts. Being a party leader did not mean automatic qualification for a senior manager post in a government, said Zulu. “You cannot be appointed a director-general because you make a noise. You need the relevant qualifications,” she said. Other key policy debates at the NGC would look at pushing forward with the creation of a single police service. Also on the cards is a formula to increase the budget of sports and recreation by looking at new means of revenue – including a 5% levy on all sports tickets sold – and the future of alcohol advertising in sports. The NGC is a mid-term consultative conference that looks into weaknesses in the party’s policies and programmes between national conferences – the last one being the Mangaung conference in 2012. Proposals emanating from the NGC would be ratified only by the next national conference in 2017. On the SABC, Zulu said the public broadcaster should serve the interest of the people and not conduct itself as a purely commercial entity. “The SABC cannot be like any other commercial entity that just wants money from adverts, and that is why the state puts so much money into it,” she said. Zulu said the SABC’s coverage of government also needed to improve. And she said issues with the funding model of the broadcaster may also have to be looked into. However, she said, “at the same time, the ANC cannot micro manage the SABC”, despite the sense that party decisions relating to the broadcaster were not being implemented. Radebe said the report of the Presidential Review Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), appointed in 2010 to look at, among other things, standardising the appointment of board members to SOEs, was with the department of public enterprises. It was looking at finding common norms and standards.