ANC sets its sights on winning back Tshwane despite its financial woes

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
Fikile Mbalula said the ANC admits that the integrity of some of its candidates may be compromised.
Fikile Mbalula said the ANC admits that the integrity of some of its candidates may be compromised.
Image: Sunday Times

The ANC has singled out the capital city of Tshwane as it tries to claw back the power it lost in the 2016 local government elections in Gauteng.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula confirmed on Thursday that the party was so serious about taking back the municipality that it would launch its manifesto in Tshwane on September 27. 

The event will be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Since 2016 the municipality has been ruled by a DA-led coalition government after the ANC lost out partly due to internal squabbles over its mayoral candidates.

“We are going to Pitori [Pretoria], we are going to Tshwane, the city we lost in the hands of a coalition of the DA and the EFF. We are going back to ask our people for majority rule in the city of Tshwane. What has happened in the past five years is for everyone to see for himself or herself,” said Mbalula.

Mbalula said the party was going to the municipality to reclaim it. Had the party wanted to “look good” it would have launched its manifesto in Ekurhuleni where he believes the party had done well under mayor Mzwandile Masina.

However, the ANC faces a difficult task in reclaiming Tshwane and winning back other metros as it is fighting a court case that may see it unable to register candidates in dozens of wards.

In Tshwane alone if the opposition DA wins the court case in which it opposes the IEC decision to reopen the candidates' lists, the ANC could lose 12 councillors in the elections.

The party is also short of money which may see its campaign severely constrained.

The ANC is in a battle with staff who it has failed to pay on time often in the past two years.

The Sunday Times has previously reported on a leaked recording of an NEC meeting where Mbalula suggests the party approach its parliamentary caucus to beg for funds to help its polling efforts, a clear sign that the party is under strain.

On Thursday Mbalula confirmed that the party had no set budget for the upcoming elections.

“You might see things happening but we have never had money. We ask for money every time and we budget like any other person. We must have posters, we must have T-shirts in the campaign,” said Mbalula.

He said in the campaign they will rely on the agility and commitment of ANC members.

“We have always had difficulties but we work with what we have. The little that we have will deliver victory for the ANC. We don't have a billion on the table. We have the [treasurer-general Paul Mashatile] working, fundraising, to get some of the things going.”

It was too early to tell how much they had set aside for the elections because money came in dribs and drabs, he added. 

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