ANC signals triple threat to peaceful handover – IRR

3 September 2021 - The ANC has three major reasons to expect eye-watering electoral losses this year. First, party support declined by 8 basis points to 53.9% in the last municipal cycle (2011 – 2016) on the back of socio-economic and maladministration trends that have worsened since. At that rate it would fall to at least 46% this year, a rough guideline given the failure to reverse material decline in governance.

The ANC has three major reasons to expect eye-watering electoral losses this year. First, party support declined by 8 basis points to 53.9% in the last municipal cycle (2011 – 2016) on the back of socio-economic and maladministration trends that have worsened since. At that rate it would fall to at least 46% this year, a rough guideline given the failure to reverse material decline in governance.

Second, the ANC is effectively broke. In 2016 the party spent over R1 billion wooing voters. Now it cannot pay almost R200 million in debts, or pay its own staff. Absent a major rollout of freebies and adverts, it is unclear how the ANC will be able to charm voters into forgiving corruption or inspiring “new dawn” enthusiasm.

Third, the ANC is technically inept. The party failed to complete candidate registrations in over 90 municipalities across the country.

Read together, the background material conditions, the party’s empty pockets, and the vacant ballots spell out the words “electoral punishment” in all eleven official languages.

This presents the ANC with a choice as old as democracy itself; surrender power gracefully or discredit elections? The ANC has taken three steps into the latter abyss.

First, ANC National Executive Council [NEC] member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma prematurely proclaimed the election, disenfranchising roughly half a million South Africans, giving the public one explanation but later showing the opposite. She told the public she had to proclaim on 3 August to allow the Electoral Commission to go to court, effectively blaming the legal system for mass voter suppression, but documents before the Constitutional Court reveal that she knew this to be false at the time.

Then the ANC told the Constitutional Court that so long as Level 3 lockdown remained in place it could not legally nominate candidates, and this “would be a process with no meaning” – but later it told the public it could and has nominated candidates legally.

Furthermore, in a blatant misrepresentation, ANC NEC member Jesse Duarte said “we didn’t ask for a change of deadline. We didn’t ask for the deadline to be moved”. But in sworn affidavits and heads of argument the ANC calls on the Constitutional Court to break the constitutional deadline and push elections to April 2022.

This brazen duplicity set up the third abysmal step, which was Duarte’s claim that the ANC’s failure to nominate candidates renders the election oppressive. “This prejudice to the ANC, as the largest political party, is manifest, and if the situation is not rectified, the election is not free and fair.”

Strong words coming from an ANC member who would, within a day, have to announce that the ANC had withdrawn its court challenge without giving an explanation of why it changed its mind. The effect is that some people will have heard the latest false allegation and believed it too.

Said IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “If you wanted to retrace ‘Big Lie’ politics, which turns political losers into agents of insurrection, you could not do better than the ANC over the last month. Its every contradiction leads to the ultimate partisan paranoia, ‘if we lose, it’s rigged’.”

Added Crouse: “Our system is called constitutional democracy, and ANC duplicity is creeping up on it from behind. Where and when the party loses its next step is treacherously threatening. Leadership must stop the creep now by telling partisans to respect the vote and go gently [hamba kahle].”

 
Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za
Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 079 051 0073 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za

© 2020 South African Institute of Race Relations
CMS Website by Juizi

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | PAIA Manual | Accuracy Guarantee | Sponsors & Donors

m