Drop in minority votes concerns Zuma

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has questioned whether comments by senior ANC leaders have alienated minority voters, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said on Friday.

"What we say as leaders, are our articulations not alienating to other people?" Mthembu said in Pretoria.

He was briefing the media on Zuma's political report presented at an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting which started on Friday.

Mthembu said Zuma called for "very serious introspection" on the loss of minority votes the ANC suffered in the local government election, a trend also evident in the 2009 national polls.

Zuma did not mention the names of leaders he referred to, Mthembu said.

On Monday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe conceded that comments by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema could have contributed to the party's lack of popularity among minorities.

Manyi under fire

In the run-up to the polls, Malema had described whites as "criminals".

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi also came under fire earlier this year after it emerged that he said there was an over-concentration of coloured people in the Western Cape.

For this, Manyi received a scathing rebuke from ANC NEC member and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, who called the government spin doctor a racist.

The ANC would also "interrogate" whether it had diverted from the non-racial values espoused by former president Nelson Mandela.

This was an accusation levied at the party by the Democratic Alliance during fierce campaigning in the run up to the election.

Zuma has called for this statement to be examined to evaluate whether it was a view held by society at large and not just the opposition.

Scientific assessment

"We must not dig our heads into the sand, we must be very open with ourselves. He (Zuma) has asked for a frank discussion," Mthembu said.

ANC bigwigs will also mull the drop in votes it garnered in the provinces and receive a "scientific" assessment of the election result.

Zuma sat at the head table of the NEC meeting, flanked by the ANC's top leaders on either side.

Malema sat at the back of the hall, next to NEC member Tony Yengeni.

The media were allowed to enter the meeting room for a brief photo opportunity before being whisked out for the briefing by Mthembu.

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