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Ramaphosa tells ANC it needs 14 million votes to win elections outright

by Lesotho Times
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The ANC has marshalled all its ministers — presumably using government resources —  to start “aggressively communicating its success stories” through advertising in the next critical campaigning weeks ahead of the 29 May national elections.

In a leaked recording of the national executive committee (NEC) meeting which took place last week, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said the party would need to get 14 million votes for a clear victory.

“In order for us to win, it’s no longer getting 10 million votes that (we) used to do in the past. Now we’ve got to get 13 to 14 million votes in order to be assured of a clear victory. So there’s much work to be done and if there’s the leadership that can do it, it’s this leadership,” Ramaphosa said.

“Our commitment will then be able to demonstrate to provincial leadership and regional leadership that we all need to pull this wagon and make sure that it moves forward.”

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu Motsiri did not respond to questions sent by the Mail & Guardian about the recording.

ANC head of elections Mdumiseni Ntuli delivered a report during the meeting detailing the party’s campaign battle plan to achieve its objective of remaining in government.

In the recording, Ntuli is heard saying that Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga had been exemplary in communicating the ANC’s success stories through her department.

“We need something of a similar nature, where the government is aggressively communicating the success stories because these are success stories of the people of South Africa,” Ntuli said.

“I think the deputy president as leader of government business — will have to give us a plan of how the rest of the ministers are going to be engaging in the public discourse, through adverts on radios and directly to indicate the successes that the ANC led government actually registered in the department that they are leading.”

Ntuli said MECs must also do the same in provinces “because there will be success stories that are provincially related because of the ANC-led government in that province”.

He said the government and all departments should submit to the ANC’s elections team details of all the projects they would launch between now and election day.

“We really want to see a highly, highly, highly integrated, seamless integration between what we’re doing on the ground and government intervention also taking place to complement our elections work,” he said, adding that the ANC needed to know “how it was going to take advantage of that situation”.

Ntuli expressed disappointment that the government had failed to coordinate its events with the ANC on Freedom Day — which will be commemorated on 27 April — saying this would have been an opportunity to integrate the plans of the two.

“We wish to see the president going back to KwaZulu-Natal. If there was a seamless integration between what we’re doing in elections and government, we would have influenced the government not to have the Freedom Day celebration, this coming Saturday, in Pretoria,” Ntuli said.

“We understand it’s late now, it may not be easy to change. We would have said as the election team, let’s have it in KwaZulu-Natal … integrated with an ANC element of the campaign where President Ramaphosa goes to the resting sight of [founding ANC] President [John] Dube.”

Ntuli said there was still a need for Ramaphosa to go to the province before the elections and visit Dube’s burial site.

He said all NEC members would be deployed to KwaZulu-Natal for a full seven days to leverage on the momentum the ruling party had gained during the week leading up to its election manifesto launch in February.

Ramaphosa would be the party’s biggest draw card in the metros, Ntuli said, while veterans including former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and former deputy presidents David Mabuza and Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka as well as former speaker Baleka Mbete would be deployed in far-flung areas.

The ANC was aiming to target 11 million voters and achieve its 2019 electoral outcome of 57%, Ntuli is heard saying in the recording, adding that the party was hoping for a 70% voter turnout in order to reach that objective.

“Of course, 57% will essentially be suggesting or meaning that we remain where we were, or where we are as of today as a consequence of the outcome of the elections in 2019. So that is the least that when we started planning, we said we are targeting; to retain what we have — if not to go above it — but not to go below it,” he said.

“So we had set ourselves that target of 11 million because we understood that even if there was going to be a growth on the voters roll, it will not necessarily be growth that would be far bigger to the extent that obtaining 11 million votes would not amount to victory.”

Ntuli said in the last weeks of campaigning, the ANC would focus primarily on its base and those disgruntled supporters who had opted not to go to the ballot box, instead of voting for the opposition. The party would also focus on attracting first time voters while improving its election machinery in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the North West provinces.

He said the ANC would also need to ensure that it increased its electoral margins in its strongest provinces of Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to garner 80% of the vote.

Ramaphosa, who initially chaired the meeting, said he was concerned that some within the NEC had not met their commitments towards campaigning for an outright majority. He said there would be consequences for NEC members who failed to meet campaign work targets.

“The message from here should be we all have to meet our commitment and we will be getting reports.. The NWC said clearly that, and I also reiterated that we need to get the reports of those who are not going to be meeting their deployment obligations,” Ramaphosa said.

“We will be on everybody’s back. Because it is a must, if you are any NEC and have been elected (to) the NEC, it is our duty and our obligation at a time like this to demonstrate our commitment to this movement that we agreed to lead.

“So comrades this is a call to action. This is also saying that if we don’t meet our obligations, it’s going to go beyond just a call from the president or the deputy president or whoever. It’s going to be consequential and we don’t want that, we want every one of us to commit,” Ramaphosa added.

 

Mail&Guardian

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