The reason why the ANC is not commanding resounding numbers in national and provincial polls is because South Africa’s citizenry – which is made up of a large number of younger voters – is no longer enticed by the fact that the ANC liberated the country from apartheid.
This was the explanation offered by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule when asked by the media why his party’s support seemed to be dwindling.
Magashule took some time to engage the media at the IEC’s results operations centre in Tshwane on Friday afternoon.
“What do you expect when young people are born after freedom, after we gained independence? They were never there when the ANC was at its prime, when it liberated the country. They are being educated differently now so do you still expect the ANC to still get 100%?” asked Magashule.
He added that what mattered was the fact that “the majority of the country resonated” with the party’s message.
“South Africans are still sending the ANC to government which means they trust us,” said Magashule.
As much as the ruling party – according to the results as of Friday afternoon when 90% of the votes had been counted – seemed assured of victory in the national polls and to retain the provinces that the party won in 2014, Magashule’s press briefing still highlighted deep divisions within the ruling party.
When asked if he believed that president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascension to the presidential office boosted the party fortunes, Magashule said: “Its really not about one individual. South Africans place their trust in the ANC not certain individuals in the party.”
He was pressed by journalists: “Do you throw your weight behind Ramaphosa?”
“I have served under President Nelson Mandela, I have served under Thabo Mbeki, I have served under Jacob Zuma and now Ramaphosa was elected ANC president and I serve under whomever the party has chosen,” said Magashule.
The former Free State premier also justified the slump in support for the ANC in his former domain.
On Friday, after 83% of the votes had been counted the ANC in the province had received 61.68% of the votes, from 69.68% in 2014.
He said the “unrelenting rain” that pelted the province during Wednesday’s polls was the major factor resulting in the ANC’s numbers in the province.