Mbalula: Upcoming local govt elections will be a big test for ANC

African National Congress (ANC) head of elections Fikile Mbalula told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday that the party had never run a campaign in just six weeks.

FILE: African National Congress (ANC) head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, briefs the media on 16 September 2021 on the party's plans for 2021 local government elections. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) head of elections Fikile Mbalula has admitted that the 2021 municipal polls are a big test for the ANC as the party’s election machinery kicks into top gear ahead of its manifesto launch in two weeks.

Mablula told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday that the ANC had never run a campaign in just six weeks.

The party has the arduous task of trying to win back metros that it lost in the 2016 elections, including Gauteng’s three big metros of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni - it's governing the last two through a coalition with smaller parties.

South Africa is in a race to prepare for the looming polls, this after the Constitutional Court rejected the Independent Electoral Commission’s application for them to be postponed to February 2022.

The ANC goes into the 2021 local government elections with several challenges, among them the curse of incumbency internal battles and its own inability to have had a smooth councillor candidate selection process.

This has resulted in a series of disputes across the country, with its members even marching on its Luthuli House headquarters.

Mbalula said that the internal contestation had also resulted in violence, in some cases, party members being killed.

“It has also shown us as the movement of the renewal of the ANC that contesting for power for some people has become an Alpha and Omega.”

Mbalula said that the once-mighty ANC would rely on tried and tested methods, including its supporters sharing its message with those around them.

He said that these elections were a big test that the governing party was willing to embrace.

“I don’t know about others but for us, it is a big test, and we embrace it. We will be on the ground and we will be talking to our people.”

The ANC will launch its manifesto on 27 September with the country heading to the local polls on 1 November.

PERCEPTION OF CORRUPTION

Mbalula also said that the party was dealing with the perception of corruption in response to a survey showing that South Africans believed that graft had gotten worse under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The poll, by Afrobarometer and led by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, as well as Plus 94 research, surveyed 1,600 South African adults between May and June this year.

Ramaphosa, who is also president of the ANC, rose to power through an anti-corruption ticket and has made it his mission to clean up both government and his party.

Mbalula said that while he noted the survey, no one wanted to address what government's response to corruption had been.

"Today, in addressing those perceptions, we've got people who are in government who have been affected and steps and actions have been taken. We've got a secretary-general of the ANC, who should be addressing this press conference with us today, who is not with us because of the step aside rule. If you are affected, you step aside."

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