The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has already started its drive to win back the province from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in next year’s general elections, with plans to recruit thousands of volunteers.
ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman said at the party’s 101-year celebration in Philippi at the weekend that 5,000 volunteers would be recruited to assist the party unseat the DA. The volunteers, who will not be paid, will work full time to help with the party’s campaign.
The Western Cape is key to the ANC in general — not least because it is the only province that the party does not control. Winning the Western Cape would be a symbolic victory for the ANC.
The ANC lost the Western Cape in 2009 when infighting within its ranks divided the party along racial lines. The provincial executive committee was subsequently disbanded by Luthuli House.
The ANC in the province managed to hold its elective conference in 2011, where Mr Fransman was controversially elected amid allegations that the conference was “fraudulent”. Almost two years since that conference, the party is in limbo and does not look as if it can attract the crucial coloured vote or in any way eat into the DA’s core support.
The ANC’s performance in the Western Cape during the 2011 municipal elections painted a bleak picture of the party’s potential for growth in the province. Out of 30 municipalities, the party managed an outright win only in Beaufort West and lost in some of its strongholds such as BreedeRiver and SaldanhaBay.
The DA, on the other hand, put up a notable performance, winning 12 local councils, including Cape Town, BergRiver, Drakenstein and Stellenbosch.
“Winning the Western Cape will not be easy but it is doable … I believe the only way the DA can succeed is if the ANC in this province is divided … that is why I have been working very hard to unite the party in the Western Cape,” Mr Fransman says.
He also contends that since taking over as leader of the party in 2011, there have not been any major public disagreements.
“The only public spat we had was the disagreement between myself and the provincial secretary ahead of Mangaung,” says Mr Fransman, who backed President Jacob Zuma ahead of the national conference last month. Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile had supported Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“We will work night and day to win back the province … if you look at past elections, you will see that the ANC has managed to rapidly increase and decrease its share of the vote. So what I am saying is that it is possible for us to again rapidly increase our vote.”
Mr Fransman says the party will, among other issues, focus on uniting its members, along with reconnecting with all communities, not just the black community, as well as “exposing the DA”.
The party will also focus on attracting new members. Membership of the ANC in the Western Cape has declined from 43,000 in 2011 to 38,000 last year.
However, the DA will not allow the ANC to make easy inroads into the Western Cape. DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer says the party has already started campaigning to retain control of the province.
“We have developed our election strategy. We will soon appoint an election manager for 2014. Detailed targets and operational plans have been drawn up. The DA will have an election indaba to roll out the plan to all our DA structures and election agents,” Mr Meyer says.
Independent political analyst Daniel Silke says the ANC’s chances of winning back the Western Cape are “slim” given that the DA has run the province “relatively well” since it took over in 2009.
” I think that voters that swung away from the ANC have insufficient reason to swing back to the ANC. The DA has generally run the province very well … very few scandals and service delivery has been good,” he says.
Mr Silke says the ANC has seemingly not recovered following the “disastrous” years under Ebrahim Rasool.
© BDlive 2013
Source: Business Day Live