ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says that the entire National Executive Council (NEC) of the ruling party must take responsibility for its poor performance in the recent elections – adding that it would be unfair to single out president Jacob Zuma.
This was the outcome of a 4-day meeting held by the party’s top officials following the municipal elections which saw its majority ruling whittled down, while the party also lost control of several major metros.
The result was the poorest showing by the ANC since it came to power in 1994, and followed a number of high profile scandals by president Jacob Zuma, including the Nkandla saga, Guptagate, corruption charges, and a poor decision by the president to axe and then replace two finance ministers.
However, despite even the ANC admitting Zuma as a liability, he has come out of every battle unscathed.
According to Mantashe, the party has acknowledged that “national issues” played a part in the ANC’s poor performance earlier this month, but insisted that the party had to take collective responsibility for the outcome.
He said that Zuma’s leadership had not been raised at the meeting.
“There was no proposal from the floor for the president to step down. [The] NEC takes collective responsibility for the results of the elections,” Mantashe said.
The SG announced the ANC’s plan to win back voters, which included a 14-point strategy that would boost confidence in the party. This strategy includes:
- Leadership visiting voters and listening to its supporters’ concerns;
- Dealing with factions within the ANC;
- Rooting out corruption ;
- Bringing stability and policy certainty to state-owned entities such as the SABC, SAA and Eskom;
- Pushing to “re-prioritised” the national budget to focus on tackling poverty, unemployment and inequality; and
- Speeding up of a decision on a national minimum wage;
- Pushing for a 0% fee increase for university students; and
- Dealing with the manipulation of candidate selection for elections.
Several parties including the EFF, have said they will not enter into any coalitions with the ANC as long as Zuma was still at the helm. Coalition talks with the ANC and major parties have been slow, with time running out to make the deals.
However, Mantashe previously said that bringing the president into negotiations, and forcing him to step down, was simply not an option.
“I will never go to any political party and put a condition to say ‘remove your leader’. If it is done to us, it is an issue we must deal with in the negotiations,” Mantashe said.