Mbalula positive of ANC dominance in elections

ANC's head of election Fikile Mbalula.
ANC's head of election Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula says the party would be going for broke in the upcoming polls, and that he would rather be on the opposition benches if it does not win rather than being part of a coalition government.

Mbalula, who was charged with leading the ruling party's toughest election campaign since 1994, is adamant the party is not considering going into coalition with other parties after the polls, even though some experts say it may be forced to do so in highly contested provinces like Gauteng and Northern Cape.

"The ANC will not govern through coalitions. We want an outright win, in case we don't, we will be the opposition because that is where the people would have put us," Mbalula told Sowetan.

This approach is in sharp contrast with what the ANC tried to do after it lost control of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay following the 2016 local government elections. Then, the party unsuccessfully tried to go into coalition with a number of parties. It was only in Ekurhuleni where the ANC managed to form a government with minority parties despite failing to get over 50 of the votes.

Mbalula said he and other party leaders were working hard to prevent the ANC's share of the vote from dropping to below 50% nationally and in provinces it governs.

While admitting that this year's campaign is tougher for the ANC, he was confident of victory because, he said, his party has a 25-year-old track record "of accelerated service delivery" in housing, water, electricity and social grants.

"We are where we were not 25 years ago ... then we had mud schools, [now] we open schools every month. We also did well by separating the department of education [into basic education, and higher education and training]. There are many other things that we have implemented," he said.

Mbalula confirmed that after the election the ANC plans to reduce the size of cabinet from its current 45 ministers.

The party's door-to-door election campaign, he said, continues to highlight unemployment as a major issue on the minds of voters.

"You arrive at a house and you find a mother and her children who are all unemployed. Mothers have been asking that we create jobs for their children. They appreciate what the ANC government has done ... giving them social grants, houses and now moving into implementing free education," he said.

Corruption, he said, was not one of the issues uppermost in the minds of voters the party has visited. "They are concerned about their daily life issues. With them corruption or the Zondo commission [that is currently dealing with state capture] is not a buzz word.

"There are particular areas in the urban areas where questions about corruption are raised. They also do not look at Zondo Commission negatively, they appreciate that we obliged with the public protector's report and established the commission," he said.

When asked why some "tainted" leaders were on the list that has been submitted to the IEC for parliamentary posts, he said everyone on the list was still going to be subjected to ethical test through the party's integrity commission led by George Mashamba.

"The integrity commission never had powers, but after the ANC conference it was given powers and its recommendations are now binding."

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