Ramaphosa will not step down – ANC

COALITION ON THE CARDS … A group of South African voters celebrating over the weekend. South African political parties are gearing up for coalition talks as the governing ANC fell short of a majority in the national election for the first time in the country’s 30 years of democracy. Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe party had initially attempted to threaten to challenge the announcement by the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa’s 2024 election results.

South Africa’s ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula says the party will not negotiate with any political party that demands the removal of president Cyril Ramaphosa as part of their coalition negotiations.

Mbalula says parties with such conditions could “forget about it”.

“Cyril is a no-go area. You come to us with that demand, forget it. Ramaphosa must resign? Why did he stand as president? These are bad times.

“When we agreed at (the ANC elective conference at) Nasrec, it even meant for occasions like this. You don’t run away,” he says.

Mbalula says the ANC was already in talks with political parties. He says the way forward would be determined today and presented to the party’s national working committee and national executive committee by tomorrow.

By Thursday, the ANC would announce its premiers.

The ANC is understood to already be in talks with the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party. Mbalula said they would talk with “everybody”, including the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party.

“We are talking with anyone who is significant . . . The leaderboard will tell you who you must talk to, it will reflect the will of the people.

“None of them have said they don’t want to talk to the ANC, none. There are many options on the table, including a rerun, going back to the (opposition) benches.

Fikile Mbalula

“We will put the interest of the people first. The coalitions have not worked for us . . . But it is the will of the people.

“We cannot abandon the ship, because we have six million people who still believe in us. We are blown, but not out. We are still standing, we will come back,” Mbalula says.

He says South Africa has to exist beyond “narrow political interests”.

Responding to a question on whether the party was talking or willing to talk with MK, he says: “MK party talks? We are talking with everybody. There is nobody we will not talk to.

“We have been approached by political parties. We are talking to everybody, because the elections did not give us an outright majority.”

Reflecting on the party’s 40% election results outcome, Mbalula points to the low voter turnout, the water crisis in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), challenges with load-shedding, the black middle-class snub, and the emergence of former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party as some of its shortcomings.

He says at some of the ANC’s strongholds, including places like Soweto, voter turnout was poor.

“Zuma was a factor at these elections, and the emergence of MK, definitely. We never underestimated Zuma, we knew he would get support in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KZN.

“That is why you all saw us on the ground. Our challenge was there. We spend a lot of time and resources,” he says.

Mbalula acknowledges that the MK party was a huge factor eating up support at ANC strongholds in KZN, and adds that if some of the ANC officials worked with MK, it was their choice and they would investigate such allegations.

Cyril Ramaphosa

“We have lost even some of our strongholds to MK. It looks like we were marching with Zuma machinery on the ground,” Mbalula says.

ANC deputy secretary general Nomvula Mokonyane and Mdumiseni Ntuli as head of elections will analyse the performance, he says.

“We had to fight hard in these elections. Even our own research was pointing to 43%,” he says.

Mbalula says despite losing the electoral majority for the first time in the new democratic South Africa, the ANC is still the biggest party and will be back stronger.

“Even you as the media, we saw you in the queues punching the lines ‘change, change, change’. You are using harsh words like ‘booted out’.

“We are not booted out. We are still a force to be reckoned with. We believe in persuading the voters. We ran a clean campaign, we were not dirty,” he says.

Mbalula says the ANC accepts the outcome of the results, and responding to the MK and over 20 parties, he says the party should present its disputes with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and that it “condemns any threats of violence”.

“If people have disputes, they must raise them with the IEC. There are many things sitting here that I am not happy about. Is there any material effect on the result?
“We commend the IEC for a job well done,” he says. – IOL

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