- Party admits to difficult campaign filled with challenges
- Free State ANC thank voters for renewed mandate
Free State-born ANC head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, last night expressed delight at the showing of the ruling party in the national and provincial polls as preliminary results showed it was in the lead, having secured 56.8% of the total votes cast.
Mbalula admitted that the percentage was a long way below the 62% mark the ANC had attained in the 2014 general elections.
He however said even if the ANC does not reach the past election results in these polls, the party had already anticipated a difficult run this year and had taken all reasonable measures to amend relations with its constituencies, something he notes delivered the current result.
In a recorded interview with the national broadcaster, Mbalula said, “Indeed it’s a long way to go towards the 62% mark, but we are nevertheless delighted because we conducted a difficult campaign against the backdrop of heavy loses, and we know we had to answer to some of those losses in relation to issues on the ground among our people.”
He said in response challenges faced by the movement, the ANC undertook door-to-door campaigns talking directly to the electorate.
The programme was aimed at having contact with voters in an endeavour to lobby them behind the ANC elections manifesto and to plead with them to renew the party’s mandate to rule the country for the next five years.
“Research has shown us that people are not interested in divisions. Coming from the Nasrec policy and elective conference in December 2017 with a new and united ANC leadership has translated into positive results for the campaign; indeed a lot has to be done to foster unity and to undermine disunity,’ he pointed out.
Mbalula said the ANC pushed its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to the front to lead campaigning and to heal rifts threatening the party.
Ramaphosa also spread the message of unity and renewal of the movement, something that has helped the ANC to attain this positive showing in the early results.
“Nasrec was a turning point for the ANC. Remember unity is not an event but a process. We are delighted by this early lead because it says our people have confidence in the new leadership of the ANC and its president. If we did not make amends at Nasrec our situation would be very, very bad,” noted Mbalula.
On factions in the ANC, the elections head said although there might be some members that still hold pre-Nasrec national policy conference allegiance to individuals, the election’s preliminary result tells of an electorate that still trusts the ANC, even though not enough.
He argued the result of the 2019 national and provincial polls could be interpreted as an instruction by the voters to the ANC that things should be done correctly this time around.
In the Free State the ANC had by yesterday afternoon accumulated 63% of the total votes counted and verified by the IEC.
ANC provincial spokesman Thabo Meeko also hailed the general elections as free and fair.
Meeko made a passionate appeal to other political organisations that had participated in the crunch polls to accept the outcomes of the elections.
He reiterated Mbalula’s sentiments on the ANC conducting a difficult campaign filled with challenges.
The provincial spokesperson attributed the encouraging showing by the ANC in the province to the hard work by party volunteers that carried out door to door visits appealing for votes from the electorate.
Going back to the people to report on the progress that has been registered by the ANC government in the province for the past five years had also worked well in helping attain the impressive result.
“Despite the challenges our campaign was faced with, we managed to stand the test of time. We want to thank our people for returning us to power and we dare not fail them. We take their mandate as an instruction to improve on how we do things as the movement,” said Meeko.
He added political parties that want to push for a re-run of the election based on claims of vote rigging are better advised to drop the idea and embrace the results.
At the end of the day it is not about individual politicians but a programme of improving the lives of the people for the better that matters, he advised.
The IEC should be appreciated for delivering a free and fair election despite the growth in the number of political parties contesting the elections.
A total of 48 parties took part in the polls.