Gwede Mantashe, the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, says the negative narrative around President Jacob Zuma had contributed to the ANC’s poor performance in local government elections held earlier this month.

Mantashe said here Tuesday that factor and other issues such as factionalism and infighting within the party were issues which the ANC leadership took full responsibility for.

“If there is that constant attack on the leader of a party, it will impact the performance of the party. But we are going further than that to say, ‘Where is the collective leadership that is elected to lead with the president when the support declines’?'”

Mantashe told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that as the party’s Secretary-General, he took responsibility for everything which affects the party, as did the other party leaders.

“When our people fight and even kill each other for positions, I take responsibility, that is what a secretary does. But the reality of the matter is that the Secretary-General does not operate in a vacuum, the Secretary-General operates in a collective leadership.”

Mantashe also slammed the opposition which had unseated the ruling party in major metropolitan municipalities, calling them “colonizers” who do not have the interest of the people at heart.

He said the relationship between such parties was only about removing the ANC from power.

“We, however, have had a number of serious setbacks in a number of municipalities. These include some metros that have not had an outright winner. This situation presents a reversal of our democratic aims and a re-assertion of power via colonizers,” he said.

“A coalition government has been established by opposition parties to govern same areas. Many of these are not based on the principles of serving the people, but rather on the common desire to remove the ANC as the national liberation movement from power at all costs.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the biggest opposition party, with the help of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and other smaller parties, has taken over control of the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela metros and have increased its outright support in the City of Cape Town.


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