ANC internal report said to have shaken the party’s leadership shows that its support in Johannesburg has dropped as low as 37%.
Most members of the leadership had expected the party’s support in the metro to remain at just above 50% – in line with the trend in recent elections.
The Sunday Times can reveal that the party’s internal research department in Gauteng presented the “worrying” report to provincial leaders at a meeting late last year.
It is believed that the results of the survey indicated that the ANC’s approval rating in Gauteng’s three metros – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni – stood at below 50%. Only in the West Rand district municipality did it appear to have the support of at least 50% of voters.
Provincial leaders had anticipated such results only in Tshwane, where they fear Julius Malema’s EFF is making inroads.
The ANC has been unfazed by the decline in support for it in Johannesburg – from 58.56% of the vote in 2011 to 53.63% in the 2014 general elections, focusing instead on Tshwane, where it won just more than 50% of the vote in 2014.
News of the report comes hard on the heels of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau getting the thumbs up from ratings agencies for improving its finances. This week, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded Johannesburg by four notches based on its financial performance in the past three years.
A member of the ANC’s provincial executive said the dismal figures predicted for the party in Gauteng’s metros were tabled in October last year.
“The survey revealed that in Johannesburg we are sitting on 37%. In other regions we were around 30% to 40%. I am told recent surveys show that we have improved,” said a party leader.
Another party leader said: “We looked at those figures and said what do we need to do … it is worrying.”
The leader said that although the ANC in Gauteng had not seemed too perturbed by the poll predictions, they had been a serious cause for concern for the ANC’s head office.
Tau, who is chairman of the ANC’s greater Johannesburg region, said on Friday that he was not aware of the predictions.
“We will only know where we stand after the ANC’s provincial general council on Sunday,” he said.
In Tshwane, the party has been rocked by violent factional infighting, with one faction set on mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa retaining his position, and another demanding that he be replaced by ANC Tshwane deputy chairman Mapiti Matsena.
Meanwhile, it is understood that national ANC leaders have warned Gauteng leaders that their “anti-Zuma” stance could cost them victory in the elections.
The provincial leadership of Gauteng said last month that President Jacob Zuma must “do the right thing” and resign in light of the Constitutional Court judgment against him that found he had acted in breach of the constitution.
ANC provincial chairman Paul Mashatile said at provincial general council in Pretoria on Friday evening that the ANC in Gauteng would fill the 90000-seater FNB Stadium without help from other provinces when it launches its provincial manifesto.
“Our election machinery is well oiled. On June 4, we will have our provincial launch of the ANC election manifesto at FNB Stadium. Comrades, we are going into battle. There is no turning back,” he said.
Addressing the meeting, Zuma appeared to urge the provincial ANC to put aside party politics and focus on winning the elections.
“Instead of discussing how we move forward, we discuss what is the position of Gauteng for 2017 [when the party holds its elective conference],” Zuma said.
Zuma emphasised that diminished electoral support eroded the ANC’s power to institute change.
“How can we leave the [economic hub of South Africa] to people who don’t even know what they are doing? Jesus!
“Others are making big noise because they don’t even know how a gun looks like, they talk about guns just to try and intimidate people for sweet nothing,” said Zuma in reference to a statement by Malema that the EFF will remove the government “through the barrel of a gun”.
Source: Sunday Times