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Corruption isn't core reason for ANC losing voters, says Zikalala

22 July 2022 - 22:03
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala addressing the provincial elective conference at Olive Convention Centre, Durban. Photo: SANDILE NDLOVU
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala addressing the provincial elective conference at Olive Convention Centre, Durban. Photo: SANDILE NDLOVU
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

While corruption is wrong, bread and butter issues affecting communities are the key reasons for the ANC losing votes. This is according to the outgoing chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala.

“When you get there to campaign, issues that face us as the movement are not about what we are doing to fight corruption, but the poverty, service delivery, unemployment and housing. And I am not saying corruption is right, I am saying you can say you are fighting corruption but people will tell you they are hungry,” he said.

Zikalala said this while delivering the organisational report to delegates at the ANC's ninth provincial elective conference.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, which Zikalala has led for the past four years, lost votes in the last local government elections. Zikalala attributed this to poor voter turnout, Covid-19, internal squabbles, service delivery, the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma and the July unrest.

He said it was clear the ANC may have lost its mass appeal and ability to rally the electorate behind it and its programme of delivering a better life for all.

“Reasons for loss of support include depressed national mood due to Covid-19, the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, the July unrest, distrust of the ANC-led government, enormous service delivery failures, corruption allegations, leadership conflict and ANC financial woes.”

He called on members to reconnect with the day-to-day struggles of communities, including service delivery, crime and poverty.

Zikalala is facing a tough battle in his bid for re-election. He took the time to remind delegates that despite the poor electoral performance under his leadership, the outgoing provincial executive had worked hard to build unity.

He reminded party members that “we must still unite and triumph or be divided and perish together”.

“As we approach the policy conference we need to ensure that there is a discussion and a clear outline of what the renewal programme entails.

“We believe the ANC needs a more holistic organisational renewal programme rather than focusing on one or two aspects of what renewal should entail.”

He admitted that many efforts have been invested in ensuring organisational renewal with little progress yielded and the NEC has been grappling with the issue of fighting corruption and restoring the integrity of the ANC.

Zikalala's criticism of the step-aside resolution was that it could lead to more divisions if not applied holistically with other measures.

“What has compounded the implementation of the decision is that afterwards, the NEC further resolved that comrades who are charged should not stand for elective positions in the movement.

“The staggered manner and delay process of resolving this matter has resulted in disquiet and left a bitter taste in that it seems as if this intervention is only designed to prevent others from contesting,” he explained, Zikalala said.

To renew the ANC, the outgoing chairperson said there was a need for:

  • Intensive and ongoing compulsory political engagement
  • Membership renewal
  • Renewal of the revolutionary character

And there should be more focus on:

  • Expropriation of land without compensation
  • A dedicated focus on industrialisation
  • Establishment of a state bank and transformation of the SA Reserve Bank to be under the control of the state.

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