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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


Hegemony decline: ‘ANC won’t win big’ in next year’s elections

ANC's shift towards coalition politics raises pertinent questions about future governance scenarios.


President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC must accept that its hegemony has been destroyed and getting a clear majority in elections is a thing of the past, say experts. Political analyst Prof Ntsikelelo Breakfast is the director of the Centre for Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution at Nelson Mandela University. He said the fact that Deputy President Paul Mashatile had approached other political parties to discuss a framework for coalitions was an indication that the ANC had realised it wouldn’t win, or that its majority would be drastically reduced and it might have to govern with a coalition at national…

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President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC must accept that its hegemony has been destroyed and getting a clear majority in elections is a thing of the past, say experts.

Political analyst Prof Ntsikelelo Breakfast is the director of the Centre for Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution at Nelson Mandela University.

He said the fact that Deputy President Paul Mashatile had approached other political parties to discuss a framework for coalitions was an indication that the ANC had realised it wouldn’t win, or that its majority would be drastically reduced and it might have to govern with a coalition at national level.

He believes if the ANC’s lucky to retain its majority, it will get between 51%-52% of the vote.

Fellow analyst Sandile Swana said that instead of winning, the ANC was heading for 45%.

ALSO READ: Election claims: ANC ‘hasn’t failed,’ will win without coalitions – Ramaphosa

Struggle to retain the majority

“The idea that the ANC is going to win the election could only happen if it first got tips on how to win an election from Zanu-PF.

“But in the absence of using the same methods as Zanu-PF, the ANC probably has got a minimum 70% chance of not winning the majority in Gauteng. They will struggle to retain the majority in KZN,” Swana said.

The analysts were reacting to Ramaphosa’s assertion that the ANC would win with a majority in next year’s elections.

Speaking to editors and senior journalists on the ANC manifesto review on Saturday, Ramaphosa highlighted various service delivery achievements and made new promises.

They included turning the current R350 grant to the unemployed into a basic income grant for the poor.

But Breakfast said: “I am not sure what there is to review because the ANC never honoured most of those commitments. The reality of the matter is that the president made many commitments in the build-up to the 2019 elections and never honoured most of them.

“For instance, he said the economy would grow and would trickle down and create jobs and it was going to be felt by the poorest of the poor, and that the government was going to address corruption, but things have gone from bad to worse,” he said.

He mentioned the Covid personal protection equipment scandal in Gauteng and the slow pace of service delivery as having “gone against everything that the ANC promised”.

“The reality is that one-party dominance is a thing of the past.

“The hegemony of the ANC has been dealt a serious blow. It wouldn’t have lost its majority in so many municipalities if it was still a dominant force in our politics,” Breakfast said.

New coalition arrangements

The mere fact that Mashatile held negotiations with opposition parties to discuss a new coalition arrangement was due to the ANC knowing it was on the verge of losing its majority or that it was going to be drastically reduced.

ALSO READ: ANC ‘will win’, load shedding intensifies, Parly arsonist rejects psychiatric findings

“This signifies that the ANC is aware it might lose power, otherwise it wouldn’t have arranged such a meeting if it was confident of winning in 2024,” Breakfast said.

He predicted that the ANC’s percentage would shrink as it had been doing in the local government elections.

“If we had a national election in 2021, the ANC would have lost power. That’s a reality. I don’t know if what Ramaphosa said was a self-fulfilling prophecy or what,” he said.

Swana also slammed Ramaphosa’s promises, saying the “ANC should not be taken seriously as the so-called majority party as those days are gone”.

He said the Jacob Zuma and Ramaphosa presidencies were characterised by failed promises and an increased loss of confidence in the ANC by the voters.

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