Covid19 aftermaths on local government elections 2021: will ANC retain its stronghold?

Whilst our minds are fixed on the pandemic (Covid19) political parties are faced with a gigantic task ahead. They must develop strategies and tactics that are tailor-made to address and redress challenges faced by voters. The 2016 local government elections trends revealed that people vote based on emotions because they are subjective by nature. Only a few vote based on their conscience. ANC has been on the peak(electoral expedition) since the democratic dispensation. Conversely basic dictum informs us that its electorate has been declining for the past decade. One classical factor which led to the decline is “poor service delivery”. In 2015 only 30% of voters were satisfied with service delivered by their municipalities, whilst 22% were neutral, and 48% were dissatisfied (HSRC, South African Social Attitude Survey, 2015).

A number of communities particularly black communities has been on service delivery protest for at least twice a year. Service delivery protest has been on the front page for a number of publications, radio stations, digital mediums, and television. To date the same poor service delivery challenges are still prevalent. A number of communities are still longing to see the unfulfilled community development projects as prescribed by their municipal IDPs. We cannot shy away from the fact that ANC has made progress in some areas whilst the challenges faced by many communities are becoming more complex day by day as a result of increase in population and sustainable livelihoods factors.

Amongst the factors which led to poor service delivery are: corruption, lack of disciplinary, and bad procurement policy.

Under corruption we have officials who are corrupt to the core. To be corrupt has now become a lifestyle in the ruling party to such an extent that the deployed are now aspiring to loot resources intended for service delivery. Lack of disciplinary, most deployees who are corrupt to the core are untouchable. Their party has failed above the standard of failure to impose stringent disciplinary measures. They have turned municipalities into their Spaza shops. Accountability is very rare. Lastly bad procurement policy, a policy that emphasizes on compliance and evaluation but neglect pricing is a bad policy. Let me place that into context;

government would draw budget intended for service delivery. For an instance they would allot R10 00 for procurement of a loaf of bread. A tender would be advertised followed by the process of shortlisting. Company X would pass through the compliance and evaluation criteria and be awarded the tender. Now company X would submit prices/quotation that exceeds the set budget by the department. The department will then procure the loaf of bread at R30 00 which doesn’t correlate with the departments budget. As a result government would be forced to overspend. When you compare the budget and expenditure you can tell that the manner in which the procurement policy was designed is not compatible with good governance.

The shift in attitude and mood of the masses determines who wins local government elections. Unfortunately this time around attitude and moods cannot be moved by some artificial or cosmetic solutions such as food parcels or free t-shirts. The people are more concerned about service delivery than Marxism or Fanonism. The people are concerned about the lives of their future generations? The people are more concerned about basic service delivery as opposed to socialism or communism ideals in the heads and hearts of their leaders. The people are longing for real transformation. They have been waiting for far too long for the promised land.

Given the current global crises, the Covid19; is ANC going to retain its position? Will it capture the hearts of the poor masses? Will the promise notes made by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa rescue the ANC or it will place it under ICU? Under the current economic conditions engulfing South Africa; will food parcel (that failed to reach electorate only to be discovered in households of the few who are a clique to ANC leadership) be a sustainable solution towards the electoral shrinkage faced by the giant organization? Are the angry masses (both politically awakened and politically unawakened) going to easily reconcile with ANC? The challenge is bigger than the internal squabbles devouring ANC each and every day. Indeed the challenge is a monumental challenge that needs a holistic approach that is electorate driven as opposed to an approach that is membership driven.

I foresee ANC losing its electoral domination by 5% (yielding 50,68% from 55,68%) during the coming 2021 local government elections. The landless, the starving, the unemployed, and the many who anticipate true liberation from the ruling party are now completely bleak. It will take competent and people-centered cadres who are not arrogant and disrespectful, to attempt to calm its electorate down and implore them to vote for ANC.

The announcement of Covid19 R350 grant relief has also aggravated the situation. The fact that you design a solution then on top of it design a challenge (presented as a criterion) that hampers electorates to access that grant; some requirements made by government are not realistic. Some of this requirements are selective and deprives the indigent the chance to access relief programs intended to aid them.

If you’re employed or unemployed Labour Department should be acquainted with those statistics more than anyone in the Country. In fact the grant was supposed to be administered by labor department in conjunction with SASSA. Many indigents didn’t receive any aid from government on the ground. I hear a number of the voiceless dissatisfied electorates on the street and social media complaining on how angry they are and why they might opt to punish the ANC in the next local government elections. A number of young people are saying it’s very difficult to apply for the grant through WhatsApp whilst some have completely lost hope citing that the process is long and complicated. What about the informal businesses that are. not familiar with bookkeeping and international financial standards; are they automatically disqualified from Covid19 relief grants? Will the grant reach the real recipients or it will only reach those who are connected to ANC?

Commissioned by: Elona

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