ANC faces tough municipal vote over poor services

Analysts say its national support could fall below 50%.
Anger over services could hurt ANC and President Ramaphosa (pictured). Image: GCIS

In a township in South Africa’s industrial heartland, raw sewage flows through the streets and into people’s homes.

Dilapidated infrastructure and poor services in areas that have traditionally been strongholds of the governing African National Congress (ANC) could hurt it in municipal elections on Monday.

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The former liberation movement is hoping to win back metropolitan voters it lost to opposition-led coalitions in 2016, when it suffered its worst election outcome since sweeping to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994.

But analysts are predicting a continued slide in the ANC’s national support, possibly dipping below 50% for the first time from 54% five years ago.

“There is no respect for human dignity,” said Motsamai Matsabu, a pensioner in Evaton, a township of concrete and brick houses near major steel works south of the commercial hub Johannesburg, a pool of grey sewage festering in his yard.

“It makes me wonder whether our existence … is worthwhile,” he added, declining to say how he will vote on Monday.

Potholed roads, blocked drains, water shortages, power cuts: these are the daily realities for poor South Africans in parts of South Africa’s steel belt near the Vaal River that have historically voted ANC. Broken pipes and wastewater treatment plants, and the accompanying smell, are a reminder that 27-year-old promises of a better life for all after white minority rule ended remain unfulfilled for many.

“For many years I was still making my ‘X’ for ANC, but I want another party. I think ANC doesn’t have that feeling for us,” Mamkiti Mbhele, a hair salon owner in the Sebokeng township whose house floods in heavy rain, told Reuters.

ANC officials say it was always going to be difficult undoing decades of apartheid-era neglect.

Lesego Makhubela, spokesman for the ANC caucus in the provincial legislature of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and surrounding areas, said hundreds of newly built houses showed efforts to improve lives were bearing fruit.

“We are working … to make sure the people … are given their right to dignity,” he said.

‘Democracy in a dump’

ANC leader President Cyril Ramaphosa said on the campaign trail that the party had learned from its mistakes and would ensure municipalities are well-run. It is also mired in corruption scandals and faces criticism over extreme inequality and unemployment.

Gilberto Martins, an administrator appointed to help run the municipality that includes Evaton and Sebokeng, said the rotting infrastructure was worsened by vandalism and theft. Transformers had been sabotaged, and power cables and manholes stolen.

Residents have, meanwhile, formed a movement to field candidates in Monday’s elections, capitalising on dissatisfaction with the ANC.

“We are now enjoying democracy in a dump,” Ernest Nkopane, one of the New Horizon Movement’s candidates, said.

Analysts say getting less than 50% of the municipal vote would be a psychological blow for the ANC.

“People will start thinking that maybe one day this country can be run by someone other than the ANC,” said Louw Nel, a political analyst at the Oxford Economics Africa research organisation, adding that Ramaphosa’s party rivals could use a bad result to mobilise support against him.

But missteps by its main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), could mitigate ANC losses. It caused an uproar this month with a divisive poster campaign in a town where racial tensions have flared between ethnic Indian and Black communities.

Ramaphosa is still popular, and older Black voters retain a strong emotional attachment to the party that freed them from centuries of colonial and apartheid oppression.

Additional grants of R350 a month during the Covid-19 pandemic kept many from going hungry, which they aren’t likely to forget, Nel said.

Other contestants include the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a Marxist group led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, and ActionSA, a moderate, pragmatic outfit led by former DA Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.

An Ipsos telephone survey of 1 500 people in August put support for the ANC at 49% in a scenario in which seven out of 10 people vote, while the DA was on 18%, the EFF 15% and ActionSA 2%.

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“ANC officials say it was always going to be difficult undoing decades of apartheid-era neglect”

Look around you. Look what was there before 94 and look what the ANC has built since. Let’s get honest here for a moment.

The same old songbook from the ANC. The fact is the neglect took place after 94. There was no sewage running into the Vaaldam before 94 to give just one example. There are many many more. We don’t buy this BS any longer.

I think it will be more difficult for any party to undo ANC neglect over the past 27 years. The main problems will be firstly to repair the neglected infrastructure without the money that has been looted and wasted and secondly to get rid of the incompetent cadres that were deployed by the ANC. Even if the ANC Council can be removed, they will still “rule from the grave” through the incompetent deployments. It can take years to get rid of them, because they can only be removed through time consuming and energy sapping disciplinary processes. Even if the ANC can somehow win a municipality with competent councillors (not very likely, but say it is possible) they will have the same problems. The money is gone and the officials are still incompetent. Not a very tasty scenario, but unfortunately true.

So, who will the ANC go into coalition with? The DA or the EFF. The only party that is similar in ideology to the ANC, is the EFF.

There are going to be changes in government soon, with possibly EFF leaders in government positions. The DA will continue to act as the official opposition.

Every man has his price. I am willing to vote for the EFF if you can arrange some shares in the SARB for me.

there you go Bibap, he did it. Suck it up : )

I have no doubt the average sa voter will, soon be putting the eff into power…… Hence why I no longer own any fixed assets here and have shorted the rand out to the max. I’ll stay here till the volince gets worse…. The sunsets are to die for here.
But bringing money in and starting business ect….. Those days are gone.

20 years ago we camped near Inhambane for a couple of weeks. Loved it. During the week you never saw an Asian in town, not one. They were invisible. Saturdays they appeared in all their finery. The whole Mocambique economy then was run by Asians and Mezistos. The locals had no clue. Asians were never seen but they knew the name of the game. Same today in Dumbabwe Tanzania and Kenya. The smiling face on the photo against the post office wall is just a puppet, a platitude to the clueless, voting, unthinking masses. The real economy was behind a wall. We should do the same.

Once you go elsewhere in the world, you realize how much SA has fallen behind the rest of the developed world and how insignificant it has become on the world stage…

The EFF will take over once the mining consortiums are completely done with the country so Juliarse and his friends can sell the leftovers to their Chinese friends.

Make no mistake about it, the people who run this country have way more money and power than ANC does and they DO NOT live here, why do you think Juliarse had to go to London several times? To get his orders from his bosses.

@EFF Commie. How would the coalition of two useless similar parties, would be an improve to service delivery??

If you take Bulldog POOP, and mix it with fresh Chihuahua POOP = you’re still gonna have POOP!! Just more of it!

@ EFF Commie

I think you are right this time. Its a nature law that scum attracts scum.

the anc is done. its over . the comrades are desperate.

I think by Wednesday next week the political analysts will be explaining why the idiotic masses continued to vote for the ANC

And why the EFF have been voted into several areas… we have to explain the destruction to the world otherwise someone outside the country might have doubts about the sanity of people.

No don’t blame this on the anc or eff. This is a democracy.

The blame is squarely on the shoulders of the average voting majority African citizen.

These poor people that can have 10 children each when u can’t even afford to have 2 cause u paying for all ten of theirs.

Then they still beg u for more money.

Nah, not really. They will just vote for the ANC’s Mini-Me, the EFF, if they don’t vote for the ANC. People truly get the government they deserve, and this is true of all those who vote for the ANC, EFF or ZanuPF. I have less than zero sympathy with those who continue to vote to be poor and in misery.

The ANC expropriated so much wealth from taxpayers/ratepayers and did not manage to build the needed infrastructure in 27 years. They could not even maintain what they inherited from 1994.

Anyone who votes for ANC or EFF deserves what they get in the end.

They have alienated the middle class who are the engine of the economy. Chased skills away with their BEE obsessions and fantasies. The poor can only be helped if there is a thriving economy with protection for property rights.

The middle class will not vote for ANC or EFF so the government should try to fulfill their promises without middle class support. Let’s see how that works.

This is all hot air, SA is dropping like an anvil off a 10 story building due to ANC gangsterism, corruption and in fact, downright evil. It cannot be stopped. SA has been Zuma-fied. The electorate got what it wanted, its ‘liberation’ – please enjoy

Ramaphosa quick to agree to deploy 10 000 soldiers before elections but let the looting go on for many days, could have stopped it if he had the will to do so.

“Robert from Sydney” says that the EFF is going to lose the elections

How South Africans have destroyed their own country!

I cannot force myself to pity the poor and ignorant anymore. Lie in the bed that you made.

The EFF is just the ANC sanctioned terrorist wing, to do its bidding where the ANC dare not tread. Hence the protection all its members get.

Nearly half the voting people still think the anc is a good call.

We not in the problems we in today cause of the anc. It’s the average south african majority voter that has caused all of these problems.

All ANC and EFF supporters are complicit in the destruction of this country !!!

End of comments.

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