ANC queries report on Mbeki's involvement to get middle class voters
A report that the ANC had asked former president Thabo Mbeki to help capture Gauteng’s middle class voters was queried by the party on Monday.
“The journalist... made three fundamental misrepresentations [in the report],” the Gauteng African National Congress said.
“Firstly, the journalist insinuates without any basis in fact that President Jacob Zuma is unpopular among the middle class. This impression is based on media speculation and is not borne by research.” The Sunday Times reported that the strategy arose out of fears of Zuma’s unpopularity with the middle class. Zuma would instead be used to woo the poor and working class voters in the province.
ANC provincial secretary David Makhura was quoted as saying the ANC would hold house meetings and public dialogues headed by Mbeki, the country’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The president is leading our direct contact with the people,” Makhura was quoted as saying.
“He is not going to be in those house meeting [in the suburbs].
We are using him for big community meetings and door-to-door work.” The ANC in Gauteng said on Monday its request that Zuma be deployed to help “consolidate and grow ANC support in our traditional strongholds is based on the need to first consolidate the core support of the movement in our strongholds”.
It said the report “invoked” the idea that the use of other party members was proof the ANC was afraid of losing Gauteng.
“The ANC has always utilised all its experienced cadres, including former leaders and former ministers who are willing to carry out voluntary work for the movement during election campaigns and various political programmes.” It said its campaign in the suburbs was different in every election and the report made no reference to the provincial secretary’s extensive criticism of the opposition campaign in Gauteng.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said in a briefing on Sunday that the provincial ANC’s comments regarding Mbeki were “unfortunate”.
“They have just run ahead of themselves,” he said.
Mantashe said deployment of leaders to provinces would be done centrally and the party would send its leaders anywhere.
“There is no constituency and profile of constituency that suits a particular individual. We will send a person whom we think will be able to deal with the audience that will be attended by that leader,” he said.