The “years of corruption and mismanagement” of President Jacob Zuma’s government have taken their toll on the once proud organisation that was the African National Congress, Anglican archbishop emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane said on Sunday.
The results of Wednesday’s municipal elections were a “wake-up call from the people of South Africa to an arrogant African National Congress”, he said.
The overall drop in support for the ANC, compared to the previous elections in 2011, should provide a clear message to the ANC that ordinary people were tired of the party’s “arrogance and dismissiveness”.
“There is a wonderful saying that you can fool some of the people some of the time; you can even fool all of the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time. The years of corruption and mismanagement of the Jacob Zuma government have taken their toll on the once proud organisation that was the ANC.
“South Africans, particularly those living in urban areas, have used the ballot box to express their dissatisfaction with the current status. Those in power have ignored ordinary people’s protests at their peril,” Ndungane said.
Now, more than ever, there was a need for a strong civil society in the country. “We need civil society and faith-based organisations to step up their vigilance and monitoring of the performance of both existing and new government structures. There will be coalitions formed in some of the most important economic areas of the country. We need to ensure that politicking and jockeying for power does not get in the way of service delivery, and a vibrant and active civil society offers the best way of ensuring this,” he said.
Ndungane pointed to the silent protest by four young women holding up placards during Zuma’s acceptance speech of the elections results at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) elections operations centre in Pretoria on Saturday night.
“Violence against women and children remains a major problem in South Africa. By silently protesting in this manner, these women courageously drew our attention to this matter at a time when the attention of the nation was focused on them,” he said.