Statement of the African National Congress following the constitution of governments in municipalities across the country
Municipalities across the country have begun constituting governments in line with the Municipal Structures Act that calls for the setting up of government within 14 days of the declaration of results following an election.
The African National Congress is humbled and appreciates the overwhelming support we received from South Africans in these Elections. We won the majority of seats nationwide, with 54,2% of the final vote. The ANC is now the government of choice in 161 municipalities out of 213 across the country. We once again thank the millions of South Africans who voted for the African National Congress to retain it as a majority party; reaffirming their confidence in our project of fundamental social and economic transformation.
We have however for the first time suffered a serious setback in a number of municipalities. This includes some metros where there has not been an outright winner. This situation represents a reversal of our democratic gains and reassertion of power by our erstwhile colonisers. Coalition governments have been established by opposition parties to govern in some areas. Many of these are not based on principle of serving the people but rather a common desire to remove the national liberation movement from power at all costs. They are characterized by inconsistent messaging that is devoid of any revolutionary commitment to defeat the real enemy of the people, monopoly capital. Oratory of rhetoric is used to project a revolutionary agenda when in reality the coalitions are a stance dictated by funders not dissimilar to the ill-fated DA/Agang merger.
Members and supporters of the ANC must not be distracted by this “sound and fury signifying nothing” from opposition parties. We have listened to the voices of the people, accepted their judgment and must now deliver on their aspirations. ANC-led municipalities must be models of a democratic and accountable government where services are delivered in a sustainable manner. Our public representatives must redouble their efforts to change the lives of our people for the better. To this end, hard work, responsiveness and accountability will be the criteria against which we judge ANC councilors. Social and economic development will be at the core of our agenda and all residents will be encouraged to participate meaningfully in matters of governance. We dare not fail the mandate the people have bestowed upon us.
In municipalities we do not govern, members of the ANC are called upon to constitute an effective and activist opposition. Ours is not to block or delay service delivery but rather to protect the gains of our revolution and rally against any actions to reverse these.
ANC councilors must continue to be the fearless voice of the people. We must be vigilant against attempts to negate the strides made by blacks in general and Africans in particular through effective instruments created by the ANC-led such as Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment. We must guard against the further entrenching of inequality in our cities through spatial planning and service delivery that favours the already priviledged as we have already witnessed in Cape Town. The myth of a corruption free Democratic Alliance must be debunked and we hold them accountable for delivery in all areas they lead. As we committed, members of the NEC will begin engagement with the people from this weekend. This will be the commencement of a comprehensive programme throughout the country; especially in areas we have witnessed a significant electoral decline. These engagements are intended to ensure that we understand and appreciate both subjective and objective factors that have led to the electoral outcomes and take decisive action against these.
This demands that we do not rest until we have rooted out from the ANC all elements that act in a manner that is un-ANC and anti-ANC. This includes acting where there are allegations of criminal behavior by ANC members and any act that brings the organisation to disrepute.
We offer our most sincere condolences to the family of Comrade Nonhlanhla “Stompie” Mthembu who passed away during the Council Sitting of the City of Joburg yesterday. In her honour we have no doubt that the ANC, across the country and even from opposition benches, will work hard to represent the aspirations of the people she dedicated her life to serving.
If we have learnt any lesson from these elections is that indeed history does repeat itself. The ANC and progressive forces will always be defeated if we are disunited. We call on members and supporters of the ANC to use 2016 as a catalyst for organizational growth and renewal. We will not rest until we have regained the confidence of our people and returned our revolution to the correct trajectory.
Issued by Gwede Mantashe