Load-shedding fury — ANC expects punishment for Eskom failure
The African National Congress (ANC) is concerned that it will not secure the outright victories it was aiming for in the major metropolitan areas of South Africa, according to a Sunday Times report.
This comes after extensive load-shedding from Eskom last week, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) campaigning on the promise that it alone could prevent further outages.
Internal polling from the ANC showed that voter support for the party was below 40% in Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane, and just over 50% in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni before Stage 4 load-shedding was implemented last week.
Fikile Mbalula, ANC national head of elections, told the Sunday Times that electricity is an issue that could see the party punished in the upcoming municipal elections.
“It will [affect our support] in terms of the middle class. But our people are load-shedded every day. They have been living without electricity for years and continue to vote for the ANC,” he said.
“The middle class got their irk not to vote for us as you’ve seen; they have taken to Twitter and are very angry because of load-shedding … they just got irked.”
“But the base of the ANC has suffered in terms of electricity for years. Even when the president explained it, people understand.”
“The people who got irked is the middle strata, black and white … they are just pissed with the ANC,” he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is pressuring Eskom to bring stability to the country’s power supply.
“Will it have a negative effect on the elections? I would think not, and our people understand where we are,” he said.
“They are angry. I have conceded that the anger is there, but, at the same time, they have come to understand and internalise the explanation.”
“We have often known that Eskom is the biggest risk, not only to the economy, but to the lives of our people.”
“We need to manage that risk because wishing it away really is not the most rational thing to do. Right now, I think we are managing the risk,” Ramaphosa added.
The DA has made load-shedding a key point of its campaign, suggesting that it alone can prevent future power cuts.
Last week, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter held a press conference to explain the need for load-shedding.
Despite their explanation, ANC leaders are still angry as they believe the power cuts are likely to have lost the party votes.
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