The ANC on Wednesday denied losing any votes to the Democratic Alliance, saying the victims of the DA's gains in this year's local government elections were the smaller political parties.
“The ANC is actually stabilising, not declining. It's the smaller parties that get gobbledd by the DA, it's not the ANC. They are gobbling up the smaller parties,” general secretary Gwede Mantashe told journalists in Pretoria's results operations centre.
Mantashe said “this hullabaloo” about the ANC losing support was misleading because the smaller parties were in fact the ones that were disappearing one by one.
“The biggest chunk of the 'growth' comes from the smaller parties rather than from the ANC.”
According to preliminary results from the Independent Electoral Commission, the ANC lost support in all provinces except in KwaZulu-Natal where it gained 7.9 percent. The DA gained support in every province.
It also emerged earlier on Friday that the DA gained two percent of the votes in Johannesburg compared to previous years, while the ANC lost eight percent.
Mantashe conceded the percentage loss as indicated by the IEC but said in terms of actual voters, his organisation increased the number by 400,000. There were over two million registered voters in the metro, which the ANC had won control of by a margin of close to 60 percent.
“When you do the head count and the percentage count you come to different conclusions,” he said.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi also highlighted that ANC voters would rather punish the party by not going to the polls rather than voting for someone else.
Mantashe wants the term “neck on neck” to be “demystified”, as it had been continuously used by analysts and commentators since counting of results started.
“To stay on top required more effort.. It's much difficult to stay on top than to grow from a low base. That is the comparison making.
“When people talk of the growth of the DA, they don't just manipulate figures, they also don't take into account that the DA acquired ID (Independent Democrats) and Zeba Jiyane in KZN.
“Those numbers are not numbers that reflect growth; it reflects the acquisition of parties that were facing total eradication and taken into the DA.”
The ANC currently had 62 percent of votes nationally and Mantashe said the party was continuing to inch up.
He indicated that the ANC needed to work hard for the Indian and coloured vote, saying it was an issue that needed to be analysed and responded to. -