North West could be the ANC’s Achilles heel as the ruling party launches its nationwide Thuma Mina campaign today, according to the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
Over the past month, protests calling for Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s resignation, and against alleged corruption in the health sector, have spawned an administrative crisis that saw national government intervene, first in its health department and, at the weekend, its entire administration.
Mahumapelo was placed on special leave after the provincial executive committee did not accept his resignation last week. ANCYL spokesperson Mondli Mkhize said this uncertainty in dealing with issues in the province could hurt the party in the general election next year.
“The ANCYL at national level is concerned about the instability in North West because it is affecting structures of the ANC as we approach the national elections,” said Mkhize.
“If structures are not solid, that will tamper with the effectiveness and the level at which the ANC will succeed with the national campaign.
“That matter should be dealt with as a priority by the national leadership.”
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga, who has studied the ANC’s Thuma Mina document, said the party’s plan to focus on branches would not work in North West because of how the province was dealt with by national government.
If branches were to be used as the key drivers of rebuilding trust with voters, he said, then the possible alienation of branches that supported Mahumapelo could cost the ANC.
The Thuma Mina campaign would be invoking the spirit of volunteerism, encouraging branches to reach out to communities.
He said the crisis in North West was not just an administrative one, but a political one.
“It should be understood politically and the ANC national leadership is not doing a good job in that regard,” said Mathekga.
“You cannot just say it’s about corruption. It’s political. If you just deal with it administratively and leave Supra there, he is still a powerful politician. He can still use this power to come back.”