The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal says it cannot afford to be complacent and needs to urgently introspect. This emerged at the two-day Provincial ANC Electoral Workshop in Durban.

The workshop is aimed at mobilising party structures ahead of the 2019 general elections. Addressing party members, Provincial Deputy Chairperson of the ANC, Mike Mabuyakhulu also raised concerns over violent service delivery protests and declining support at the polls.

The ANC gathered in Durban to devise new strategies ahead of the elections.

Mabuyakhulu said the workshop will serve as a military strategy to ensure a landslide victory at the polls. He has also warned that if the ANC does not restore its pride and regain the trust of the people, there would be dire consequences for the ruling party.

“In many cases, the ANC has found itself following instead of leading. We must admit that we have been found wanting in terms of setting the political agenda in the country, and allowed other political parties to lead the way while we follow. As the ANC, we need to be more assertive in dominating the battle of ideas discourse and set the agenda for the rest of society to follow.”

Mabuyakhulu has reminded party volunteers that the 2019 polls take place when the ruling party is in a general state of decline in terms of electoral fortunes. The party has lost several wards in recent by-elections to opposition parties in the province.

He says some have even begun to question whether or not the ANC is still the custodian of their aspirations and hopes.

“Like in other African countries, these elections take place when there are questions on whether the ANC and those who are elected in power are still the heartbeat of our people’s aspirations and whether we conduct ourselves in a manner that is consistent with the expectations of our people. We dare not dismiss these concerns as just the product of the machinations of the opposition political parties. Instead, we need to look deep in the mirror and ask ourselves whether through word and deed, have we conducted ourselves in a manner expected of us?”

Meanwhile, Provincial Secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli took a swipe at the members of the organisation for not showing much needed interest on electoral issues.

“When comrades are not in the provincial workshop, it’s a reflection of the state of the election programme in that region. So, what we see here is a reflection of the state of the affairs in our region. Itheku is our biggest region. So, when you start a workshop with the Ethekwini that is in disarray, are we  going to win the elections? We really need to attend to our own issues, Comrades. I really would not want us to preside over machinery that has defects and we are not willing to talk about it, because this is not about you and your positions, but about the elections of the ANC. You cannot lead a disciplined team and you are not disciplined.”

The party has suffered several blows in recent months. These include court challenges by its own members and concerns over political killings.

However, the ruling party has just held a successful provincial conference and is now preparing to hold the remaining three regional conferences in time for the elections.

In the meantime, their attention is firmly on mobilising members for what many analysts are saying will be fiercely contested general elections.

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