ANC is in worse shape under Ramaphosa: former president

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe believes that the ANC is “in worse shape” under president Cyril Ramaphosa, than it was when he was elected.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Motlanthe called the current list of MPs in the ANC “weak”, adding that they “did not inspire confidence”.

Motlanthe briefly served as interim president of South African in 2008 when Thabo Mbeki was replaced by Jacob Zuma.

He said that the ruling party is “not in great shape”, adding that he does not believe that Ramaphosa can save it.

“I think to strengthen the ANC it needs a surgical overhaul from where it is now. It is worse than it was in 2017,” he told the Sunday Times.

Motlanthe said to improve the party, it needed to be opened to people from “all walks of life”.

A recent Ipsos poll showed that Ramaphosa’s is rated highly from both male and female South Africans of voting age, scoring well (8.2 out of 10) among ANC supporters.

Supporters from both the DA and the EFF rate the president’s performance higher than 5 out of 10.

And the ANC appears to be on track to dominate its sixth straight national election in May as it increasingly wins back supporters alienated by former President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-marred rule, Ipsos research suggested.

Sixty-one percent of 3,571 adults interviewed face-to-face between Oct. 23 and Dec. 4 last year said they’d vote for the ANC, while 14% said they’d back the Democratic Alliance, 9% the Economic Freedom Fighters and 2% the Inkatha Freedom Party.

No other party polled more than 1% support. Six percent of respondents said they wouldn’t vote or didn’t know who they’d support, and 5% declined to answer.

The ANC won power in the nation’s first multiracial elections in 1994 and secured 62.2% support in the last national vote in 2014, but its share tumbled to 54.5% in a municipal vote in 2016, largely due to discontent over Zuma’s rule.

“At the end of the Zuma years, trust in the ANC was very low, but the party has recovered quite significantly in the last year,” Ipsos said.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) however, published the headline findings of its most recent election poll earlier this month, finding the ANC in a worse-off position than at the end of last year – while DA and EFF support continues to grow.

The February data follows a full poll conducted in September 2018, and a snap poll in December 2018. The group is gauging the current electoral landscape and voting intention ahead of the May 2019 elections.

The latest results show the ANC currently stands on 54.7% support nationally, down 1.3 percentage points from December (56%); the DA currently stands on 21.8% nationally, up 3.1 percentage points from December (18%); and EFF currently stands on 12.2% nationally, up 1.2 percentage points from December (11%).

And Bloomberg reported that while Ramaphosa’s ascent to power initially boosted confidence and the rand after repeated policy missteps during the almost nine years Zuma was in charge, indexes tracking sentiment have retreated as reforms fell short of businesses’ expectations.

The government’s decision to entertain the option of seizing land without compensation has been particularly damaging, even though it could help the ANC win over voters who may have backed the populist Economic Freedom Fighters in May elections.

“The African National Congress is a brake on Ramaphosa doing what needs to be done,” because he doesn’t have a clear backing from the party’s decision-making structures, Ivor Sarakinsky, a senior lecturer at Johannesburg’s Wits School of Governance, said by phone.

“He’ll have to navigate his way around on an issue-by-issue basis, and carefully.”

And for the president, major challenges remain, including trimming a bloated cabinet, resolving the land seizure debate without unduly spooking investors, taking unpopular steps to fix Eskom which is on the verge of collapse.


Read: New poll shows ANC dominating 2019 elections

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ANC is in worse shape under Ramaphosa: former president