African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa has hit back at political parties including ActionSA that have publicly said they would not enter into a coalition with the ruling party.
Addressing the party’s ‘Thank You’ event post the 2021 local government elections on Monday afternoon, Ramaphosa said the ruling party was not desperate, and would not enter coalitions “at all costs”.
“The fundamental considerations, comrades, that inform any agreement we enter into with any party is whether it will enable us to implement our electoral mandate and contribute to the improvement of the lives of the residents in that municipality. So, comrades, let me be clear, we are not going to enter into coalitions at all costs, we’re not,” said Ramaphosa.
“A number of parties are going around boastfully saying we will not work with the ANC. But who said we want to work with them? It’s okay, we are not on our knees. If we have to be in opposition, then we will be in opposition. I don’t want anyone of us going around with their heads hung down, feeling that we’re defeated, No ways! we are the ANC.
“We are going to be strategic, our decision when we enter into any coalition will be principled and political. We don’t want casual arrangements, like we’re casually dating. When we enter into a coalition, it will be like a marriage with clear conditions.”
Though Ramaphosa admitted that the recent election was the most difficult yet for the ruling party, he said the results also showed the ANC was still the majority party, even with a low voter turnout.
“This was the worst electoral outcome for the ANC in 27 years of democracy, but it was a difficult campaign, that we must admit. This is the first time that, comrades, the ANC’s share of the national vote has fallen below 50% . The ANC support declined in all provinces and we only achieved an outright majority in two of the metropolitan municipalities in the country,” he said.
“The low voter turnout is of great concern to us. Only 46% of the registered voters cast their ballot in this election compared to 56% of registered voters in the last two local elections. Beyond the impact that such a low voter turnout had on the ANC’s performance, such a low turnout has grave implications for our democracy, for building an active citizenry and for the standing of local government institutions.”
The low voter turnout and outcome was a clear message to the ANC to get its house in order, said Ramaphosa.
“We are in the process of redemption and correction. We must face up to what damages our brand including factionalism, corruption and a lack of service delivery.”
One of the many ways in which the party is correcting itself is to ensure it elects suitable mayors.
The skills and traits of mayors that will be elected in ANC-run municipalities will include:
- No criminal record
- No pending corruption charges, honesty
- Budgeting and financial management
- Understanding of legal, social and economic context of local government