The African National Congress (ANC) has denied the party is losing support after their failed attempt to replicate or do better than they did in 2014.

The ANC received 57.50% of the vote share, a drop of about five percentage points from the previous elections, collecting just over 10 million votes – more than a million less than the previous elections. Seat allocation projections are also that the ANC will lose about 21 seats in Parliament.

Despite all these factors, the party’s top brass in an impromptu press briefing outside the IEC Results Centre (ROC) in Pretoria, insist their performance is proof that the people are beginning to trust the ANC again, which is a call for celebration.

ANC Treasurer General, Paul Mashatile, says, “We are happy because we came from a low base. If you look at where we were in 2016, in the surveys and so on, we have actually gone up, which is a good thing. It means the voters have once again come back to say ‘we have confidence in the ANC,’ including in Gauteng by the way. So, what the voters are saying is that ‘We are now giving you a mandate again.’”

The party has for some time been marred by divisions, most recently the party Secretary General Ace Magashule claiming that his phone was tapped by the ANC – and then President Cyril Ramaphosa saying that was not the case, and on Friday, Fikile Mbalula seemingly having a go at Magashule over whether Ramaphosa had been the key player in the party’s victory in the elections.

Magashule has reiterated that the results are a show of confidence, but should be taken as a wake-up call to build unity within the party.

“It’s a wake-up call for us to continue renewing and building unity within the ANC. That’s our work.”

Mbalula, speaking after Magashule, has insisted Ramaphosa was the game-changer.

“We came from zero. Now, we are where we are. You know, to get 10 million is not a child’s play. It is hard work by this leadership led by Cyril Ramaphosa who has be the game-changer in these particular elections, also our collective experience of hard work and dedication. We were down there and now we are going up. The message of renewal is getting to our people. The recovery plan is on track.”

The party’s Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte says there’s a clear message from the electorate in these elections.

“The message we take from these results is that the people’s confidence in the ANC is returning and that we need to correct our mistakes, and assume with greater effort the process of renewal and rebuilding. We are fully aware that our performance levels mean many are yet to be fully convinced and we are firmly on that new trajectory. Their instruction is clear, ‘We trust you but do more and move quickly to deal with corruption and State Capture, to ensure accountability and to take the country on a higher path of growth and development.”