The ANC, which lost control of three key metropolitan councils in last year’s local elections, is still coming to grips with being on the opposition benches. It is seemingly a tough position to digest – hence the party’s failed motions of no confidence against Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Nelson Mandela Metro Mayor Athol Trollip, both held on Thursday.
So, the ANC’s latest efforts to get back to power fell flat. Granted, it copied the strategy from the DA in Parliament, which has also failed on many occasions to get rid of President Jacob Zuma.
The ANC has been on a steady decline since the scandal-prone Zuma came to power. And the slide continues unabated.
After being humbled in the local polls last year, the ANC leaders announced that they would undertake introspection to find out why they were losing popular support, and thereafter correct their mistakes.
Can anyone who has seen such introspection please raise their hands? It simply has not happened. Instead, fresh allegations of how the party’s leaders are deeply implicated in corruption have continued to emerge. But the party led by Zuma has sought either to simply deny the allegations or label those who expose corruption – even resorting to threatening them.
In a spectacular leap in logic, Zuma has blamed Western countries for wanting to effect “regime change” in something of a fanciful conspiracy.
This week, it was the people of Zamdela, outside Sasolburg, who also spoke loud and clear in the Metsimaholo municipality by-elections.
From enjoying overwhelming support of more than 80% by the Free State municipality’s population just a few years ago, the ANC has dropped to less than 50% of electoral support in this area.
But is the party listening? Are its leaders getting the message? The answer is no – because all they do is point to the fact that they retained their wards, which does not tell the whole story.
This picture is likely to get worse in 2019 if the party does not honestly confront the problem.
In two weeks, South Africans will be watching the ANC’s national elective conference to see what change is forthcoming. It is entirely up to them to decide what becomes of the once-glorious liberation movement.