ANC provincial elections head Ebrahim Rasool. (Courtney Africa, Netwerk24, file)
Western Cape ANC elections head Ebrahim Rasool says voters in the province have sent the party a sobering message - that it must stay an opposition party for now.
Just prior to the news that the Western Cape will continue to be governed by the DA, Rasool said that the ANC has accepted that it must be the opposition in the province and placed great stress on finding a leader who can be trusted.
"The ANC has accepted it must be an opposition in the Western Cape, that the DA will govern and that we need to hold the DA accountable over the next five years. That's our role we must play in opposition," said Rasool.
"I think the electorate has spoken, there's nothing more for us to say. I think that we must just find out what the voters has said. The voters have said that it is not ready for the ANC in the Western Cape."
The DA attained 55% of the vote, down from 2014's 59%. The ANC meanwhile went from 32% in 2014 down to 28%.
Reflecting on the party's decline of around 4%, Rasool said, "... the ANC organisationally has to reform itself both nationally and particularly in the Western Cape.
"The electorate has said it wants the ANC to be in opposition; it should be a good opposition and hold the DA accountable. We should not wish that we were in government but we should act like the opposition mandate that we have received and I think that that really is the story of the election."
"We can seek comfort in the fact that we are 4% more than we were in 2016, we're happy that the DA is down from their two-thirds and their 59% that they previously had… But I think there's work ahead and soul-searching that must be done so that really is the message we are hearing from the electorate."
Rasool said the ANC as the opposition party, must not let the DA get away with "spinning and abdicating their responsibilities and abdicating particularly to national".
Mentioning future plans for the party in the province, Rasool said they needed a strong organisation in the province.
"We need to be able to get back to the ground like we did in the campaign and continue that work to build real strong branches. Not just branches that are quora-ting for [national elective] conference but branches that can represent the will of the African National Congress and then we have to get leaders who can be trusted, not leaders that the people believe are not up to the task, are not interested in the people but interested in positions and themselves."
He added that if the party does hold the DA to account and they keep working on the ground "2021 will take care of itself," he said referring to the next local government elections.
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