ANC would have dropped to 40% if Ramaphosa didn't win at Nasrec: Mbalula
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday that if President Cyril Ramaphosa did not win at the party’s 2017 Nasrec conference the ANC's support would have sunk to 40% in these elections.
Speaking at the IEC election results centre on Thursday evening, Mbalula said the Nasrec conference was a "game changer" for them.
Ramaphosa won the ANC presidency in December 2017, beating his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was seen as a proxy candidate of former president Jacob Zuma.
"If the elections result at Nasrec was not reflective of change - you know, the way it did and the policy we adopted at Nasrec - if we did not actually take that direction, we would have actually sunk as the ANC," he said.
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Mbalula said they entered the campaign knowing they had to work harder than they did before.
"Should we have gone on with that we would have probably dropped to 40%," he said.
Mbalula said the DA made a mistake in their campaign by thinking "we are still in the Zuma era".
"They went for the president very hard and veering away from their own message, and they took a bad approach for them in this campaign," he said.
With 62% of the election result complete on Thursday night, the ANC was on 56.7%. It was leading polls in all provinces besides the Western Cape.
Mbalula said the ANC benefited from traditional DA voters who had voted for the ANC because of Ramaphosa.
"We are humbled by this because we came from a serious battering in the last elections where we almost lost," he said.
Mbalula said they felt the effect of the "yesteryears", in reference to the Zuma years, in communities where "our people felt we had veered away".
He said with a firm majority, the party had to start cleaning up its image so that it was not regarded as corrupt.
"We have to act in a way that is not seen to be complicit in acts that perpetuate corruption in society," Mbalula said.