Given the ANC dwindling prospects in the Western Cape and its failure to regain lost power, it is currently unimaginable that the mighty ANC once governed the province and the city. As things stands, it is almost impossible to think of Cape Town outside of the DA governance. The downward spiral of the ANC grip to power in the western province is beginning to be mirrored in Gauteng. Unlike in the Western Cape, Gauteng ANC looks cohesive and strategic in their outlook. Despite its achievement in certain townships, the party was punished harshly in metros. The people have spoken through the ballot and is up to the ANC to conduct an honest self-reflection. It was evidently shown that national political own goals and individual leader’s misdemeanors will be punished by voters at local level. Unemployment, the free education outcry, E-tolls, SOE’s corruption scandals and other national contested service delivery matters, must be addressed before 2019. Failure to address these issues could de-capacitate the ANC campaign in 2019. As seen during the local governance campaign, the ANC campaign was drowned and dwarfed by national issues than local ones championed by the opposition.

Buoyed by the capture of key metros from the ANC, the DA leader is circling like a vulture to wrestle national power from the ANC in 2019. Before the recent local elections, it was unthinkable that the ANC could be removed from national government as early as 2019‚ it is now conceivable‚ said the Democratic Alliance leader. On the other hand, the EFF leader said “The message is clear and the writing is on the wall, and 2019 is going to be a serious challenge for the ruling party.” Whilst the ANC is still grabbling with their internal issues and licking their election self-inflicted wounds, the opposition is surging ahead. If the EFF in particular continues to grow, and manage about 10% of the national vote, then the ANC could be in trouble. To measure and feel its growth, the EFF needs to start challenging the DA for the official opposition spot. The gap between the EFF and the DA is enormous. A significant reduction in 2019 will put pressure on the DA and completely drop the ANC below 51%. Any noteworthy growth for the EFF, will be directly linked to the ANC decline since they share the same voter profile. Whatever happens between now and 2019, we are guaranteed of even more intriguing coalitions.

It is now normal to live in a ward, metro and a province not governed by the ANC. Revolutions and social struggles are now led outside of the ANC. Literally, the ANC has been reduced to a hindrance of social transformation. It is stripped of the “leader of society” title and duties and is virtually on the wrong side of ALL politically loaded social discomforts that are contested countrywide. The prioritisation of “police force” over cordial dialogs during social unrests comes from the apartheid past, and the ANC have adopted it. It accepts the SAPS rubber bullets and live ammunition crowd control strategy. The ongoing social restlessness will count against the ANC if it remain unresolved. Basically, ANC power is being eaten bit by bit by the opposition. A ballot revolt is a realistic possibility for the ANC. The incoming elective conference hold a key for the ANC fortunes in the 2019 general elections. Firstly, it must strengthen the ANC internal self-governance strategy. Secondly, it must not produce slate leaders and casualties that will abstain or vote against the ANC in 2019. As things stands, it looks like the conference will not be treated with the delicacy it deserves. It will be business as usual in an unusual election eve period. There’s also a possibility that the ANC will try and avoid a combative elective conference by avoiding leadership contestations. As COSATO learned the hard way, avoiding leadership contest does not guarantee a conciliatory ambience post conferences. Avoiding contestations to preserve a leadership that have scored countless own goals will perpetuate the decline.

Listening to various ANC leaders, they all agree that the ANC is at its lowest point since 1994. Self-diagnoses of the party’s ailments without taking relevant steps to self-correct is a route to self-ruin. The immense challenge of ANC is that those who supposed to fix it, needs to excuse themselves before it can be fixed. They are looking for answers elsewhere, oblivious of the internal calls for their heads to roll. Sadly, is clear that the entire ANC NEC is going nowhere until at least the 2017 elective conference. Can the reigning leadership lead the ANC survival and revival? Well, the ANC looks powerless despite all the power it has. It is powerless to deal with “ALL” their internal matters like factionalism, gatekeeping, slates politics, ill-discipline and contestations. These internal paralysis, manifest itself at external or state level wherein social upheavals are led by NGO’s, Students and the opposition. The party hardly set the tone on any national substantial discourses. It does not manage negative perceptions and damaging events properly like the Marikina massacre, corruption perception and so on. The nature of the party challenges signify leadership ineptness. High calibre and genuine leaders of the party remain in the periphery. Thanks to gatekeeping, slate politics and the winner takes all attitude. The incoming conference “MUST “address all internal and external challenges. If the ANC goes to 2019 a reactive bunch of comrades, they will be below 51% in 2019.

By Sivodlo Silombo

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

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