ANC vote collapses in historic South Africa election result

Obed Bapela, a senior member of the
African National Congress (ANC), has told the BBC he does not think the election
in South Africa should be regarded as a “disaster” for the party – as some
pollsters have put it.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a disaster – because it is the maturity
of democracy, we have seen it elsewhere in the world. After 25 years of being a
leading party, the decline begins – and we have been seeing this decline,” he
told the Weekend programme on the BBC World Service.

In the election in 2019 the ANC took 57% of the vote.

“However it’s a shock, I must say that we are at 40% because
we thought we’d decline to around 51% – that was our prediction realising that
there are new kids on the block,” Bapela said.

“It will remain a shock for a period until we sit, we engage
and discuss… and we’ll accept, obviously, the results.”

The first sign of “unhappiness” with the ANC came in the 2016
local elections when the party lost in big cities and had to govern in
coalitions, he said.

“Elections in South Africa today are no longer about
liberation credentials, ending apartheid, it’s more about: ‘What is it for us the
voters?’” said Bapela, who most recently held the position of deputy minister of public enterprises.

It was things like the lack of electricity and unemployment –
both problems that started in 2008 and have become worse – that galvanised voters to
come out and vote against the party, he said.

When it came to a coalition, he said there would be a meeting
of the ANC’s “top seven” today to reflect on results as it was clear with 98%
of results counted the party would not get 50%

“They will then discuss what will be the best model, so there
are various options they are looking at.”

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