Ramaphosa woos Soweto to win Gauteng province

President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned in Soweto yesterday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned in Soweto yesterday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC will regain its lost ground in the upcoming elections.

Ramaphosa, who was on a campaign trail in Soweto yesterday, said the ANC lost ground due to self-inflicted blunders.

"There's new hope in the country about a new beginning. The problems are immense and they were given rise to by our past; we didn't get the best of cards dealt to us as we started our democracy.

"We've made some missteps and we admit that openly and that is what endears us to our people because when a political party has made mistakes and it admits, the people feel closer to it," Ramaphosa said in his home town yesterday.

Walking side by side with Gauteng premier and ANC provincial chairperson David Makhura, the president said he was confident that voters would give the ANC another chance. In the 2016 local elections, the governing party lost two major metros in Gauteng - City of Joburg and Tshwane. They held on to City of Ekurhuleni via a favourable coalition government.

Ramaphosa assured the audience that the ANC would win back these metros as the party is in the path of renewal.

"People will come out in their large numbers to support the only organisation they have ever known to improve their lives, particularly here in Gauteng," Ramaphosa said.

This year's election will be critical for the ANC to win over supporters in Soweto as the vote there stands between the ANC winning or losing the much-contested Gauteng.

According to a 2016 Gauteng City-Region Observatory report on voting patterns, 830,716 fewer valid votes were cast in the 2016 local elections than in the 2014 national and provincial polls, and voter turnout fell from 73% to 58%.

Of this reduction, the greatest actual and proportional loss was seen by the ANC, with 710 979 fewer votes.

Soweto is home to more than 10% of the Gauteng's 12-million plus population.

About controversial ANC members who made it to election lists, Ramaphosa said it was the branches' decision but those members facing serious allegations would still be prosecuted.

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