News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

ANC unleashes battle plan to win back the Western Cape

Steve Kretzmann

Following a torrid couple of years in the Western Cape, the ANC plans to rebuild its provincial structures in order to win back the DA-led City of Cape Town in the 2011 local government elections.

Following the loss of the Metropole to a DA coalition in 2006, and the loss of the province to the opposition in the April general elections, the ANC disbanded its discredited Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) in July.

In charge of the ANC’s comeback plan is Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, who has been appointed by Luthuli House as convenor of the Provincial Task Team.

In the ANC’s statement, Mdladlana admitted that the party in the Western Cape “had become distracted by internal divisions, abuses of power, patronage and greed”, and that “Coloured voters had abandoned the ANC in numbers”.

Mdladlana stated that the ANC’s goal was to reunite the people of the Western Cape and said: “An example of the Western Cape’s challenge of inequality was laid bare in the media reports following the release of crime statistics this week, comparing crime-ridden Nyanga (208 murders) to relatively peaceful Fish Hoek (0 murders).”

To this, DA leader and Premier Helen Zille, in a brief telephonic interview, shot back that the ANC should look at the difference in crime statistics between Westville, in ANC-led Durban, and Kwamashu (300 murders) in ANC controlled KwaZulu Natal, which is now the ‘murder capital’ of South Africa, a position formerly held by Nyanga.

But the ANC’s ambition to unite voters behind the party is unlikely to succeed, said Head of Politics at the University of Cape Town Robert Schrire.

Schrire said two things worked against the ANC’s plan.

The first was the “ethnic nature of the electorate” wherein people voted along racial lines, which while working in the ANC’s favour elsewhere in the country, has “bitten the ANC in the Western Cape”.

The second was that the ANC had no charismatic community based leadership in the province, which he said was the only thing that could cross the ethnic barriers they faced.

He said although the DA had won the City of Cape Town and the province, their “huffing and puffing” and “turbo-charged” campaign was also not able to break through the ethnic voting barriers, and the ANC was likely to meet the same fate.

This would not change until there was a significant sector of the population which voted according to principles and philosophies which transcended party political entities.

And he said the ANC itself had contributed to the re-racialisation of South African politics and strengthened the ethnic boundaries, and used remarks made by ANCYL leader, Julius Malema, who held a strong position in the party, as an example.

However, he said it was a “tragic” possibility that the ANC would use race as a tool to reinforce “the political cleavage” of whites vs Africans (which would include coloured and Indian voters) in order to include various ethnic groupings in support of the party. – West Cape News

Tags: ANC, DA, westerncape

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