The African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partner, the South African Communist Party (SACP), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African National Civics Congress (SANCO) convened a joint press conference on Friday, hours after the ANC sealed its election victory in the Northern Cape. They hailed the ANC’s election victory and thanked the volunteers for working tirelessly to ensure that the governing party retains the province.
Deshi Ngxanga, the ANC’s Provincial Secretary expressed the party’s gratitude to the voters of the Northern Cape who endured the wet and cold weather to keep the ANC in government. “We commit ourselves as the ANC alliance to improve the quality of life of the people of our province, and to ensure that we grow our economy and create more decent jobs and fight poverty, unemployment and inequality. We are cognizant of the magnitude of the work that lies ahead, the ANC will during the next two weeks go back to our communities to thank them for the support and pledge our commitment to working with them in ensuring that we better their lives,” indicated Ngxanga.
But the victory of the ANC has been well off its target of 66% as mentioned by Ngxanga at a media briefing on the 5th of May. The performance of the ANC is poorer than the 2014 outcome of 64,4% which equated to 20 out of 30 seats in the provincial legislature, compared to the 18 seats that it has been allocated now. There has been a significant drop in the voter turnout from 71,29% in 2014 to 64,11% for these elections. In 2014, 428 537 people came out to vote while 401 663 casted their votes this year. Nxganga has attributed the ANC’s decline in support to internal strife, bad weather and the allegations against party leaders stemming from the Zondo Commission on state capture. It would seem that the Economic Freedom Fighters consumed into the ANC’s support in Joe Morolong municipal area as well as in the Frances Baard district.
Ngxanga was adamant that the party’s decline in support and resultant reduction in legislature seats will not deter it from addressing critical issues that were raised by the voters during its election campaign. He indicated that the new administration will be allowed 50 days to address these challenges.
The party’s Deputy Provincial Secretary, Maruping Lekwene, applauded the IEC and reaffirmed the ANC’s confidence in the electoral body’s capacity. He appealed to the smaller parties, which have challenged the national results, to go back to the drawing board and accept the results. Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement (ACM) received a meagre 100 votes in the province. The Democratic Alliance (DA) received 101 198 (25,5%) of the votes, which were slightly higher than their previous performance, but they still trail behind the ANC by 127 067 votes. The EFF almost doubled their support from 4,96% (20 951) to 9, 71% (38,527). The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) re-entered the provincial political landscape by securing one seat in the legislature with 10 641 votes. COPE, with 3400 votes will not be returning to the Provincial Legislature. It received only 117 votes more than newcomers GOOD (3283). Pakes Dikgetsi, COPE’s provincial leader acknowledged their loss by posting on Facebook “It is now time to take this opportunity to concede defeat…We ran our race and it has now come to its end”.
The attention now shifts to the formation of the 6th provincial administration and who will lead the government. Ngxanga specified that the incoming premier should be a humble person and a servant of the people who should listen more than speak. According to Ngxanga, the ANC’s Provincial Officials (top 5) met to discuss the issue of the premier and thereafter met with its alliance partners to consult them on the officials’ recommendations. The ANC’s Provincial Working Committee (PWC) would have received a report from the outcome of the consultations and further recommend the three names of the premier candidates to the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC). The ANC in the province was scheduled to meet the party’s National Officials on Sunday to convey the PEC’s preferences, which ultimately would be discussed at the Monday National Executive Committee (NEC). The Northern Cape Provincial Legislature will on 22 May elect the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the new Premier.
One of the ANC’s young volunteers, Siyabonga Asiya died while doing duty for the ANC at Isibane voting station in Colesberg. Ngxanga expressed their party’s’ condolences to the family and friends of Siyabonga, “We would like to extend our sincere and deepest condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Asiya”.