Phumzile Van Damme dissects ANC's 'success' at the polls: 'When election time comes, it unites'

15 February 2021 - 10:30
DA MP Phumzile Van Damme says when it comes to election time, the ANC unites and focuses on winning, not factionalism. File photo.
DA MP Phumzile Van Damme says when it comes to election time, the ANC unites and focuses on winning, not factionalism. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

Fresh from her controversial sabbatical, Phumzile Van Damme has got tongues wagging with her analysis of the ANC's success at the polls.

At the weekend, the DA MP gave her take on the ANC and why the party is still in government despite its failings and allegations of factionalism. 

She said when it comes to election time, the party unites and focuses on winning, not factionalism.

“All leaders are given a platform because the ANC understands different leaders appeal to different markets. [Cyril] Ramaphosa, Ace [Magashule] and others campaign,” said Van Damme.

She said the popular idea that the ANC would split into Ramaphosa and Magashule factions, was “more a wish than something founded in fact”.

TimesLIVE reported that various ANC branch leaders have pledged their support for Magashule, who they believe is being “persecuted” by a group “motivated by politics, working with those who want to polarise, destabilise and burn down SA into ashes”.

“At the end of the day, what matters is the ANC, not a factional advantage. The 'best' in the ranks are used to consolidate support under one umbrella,” Van Damme said.

“The ANC’s support can be segmented according to different reasons for continued support. Some look to Ramaphosa as a reformist. Others look to Ace as a person who seeks to uphold the ANC’s 'traditional' values. Election time, supporters of all persuasions are consolidated,” she added.

Van Damme criticised the analysis that “ANC voters are stupid”, saying it does not consider properly why people are voting for the party.

“The reasons are complex and one is based on the ANC’s campaign strategy and its leaders understanding that its victory is not centred around whoever is president.

“The ANC’s leadership structure is based on a form of egalitarianism, if you properly analyse it,” said Van Damme.

On social media, many weighed in on Van Damme's statement, saying the DA could learn a thing or two from the ANC.

Others said the analysis was “profound” coming from a senior member of the opposition, and suggested that Van Damme should leave the DA and join the ANC.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions:


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