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ANC says it’s ready to be opposition council if coalitions do not work out

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While the talks of coalitions begin, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said they are not negotiating from a position of weakness.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte held a media briefing at the IEC national results operation centre (ROC) in Tshwane on Wednesday afternoon. She was joined by (from left) ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula and ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

THE ANC says it’s ready to be an opposition party in some councils, as the party’s numbers dwindled or hung in the balance while the processing of votes from the local government elections continued on Wednesday.

While the talks of coalitions begin, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said they are not negotiating from a position of weakness.

The ANC leadership, including ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula, ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile and ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, addressed the media at the IEC’s national results operation centre (ROC) in Tshwane on Wednesday afternoon.

By 5pm, the ANC was in the lead nationally, with just over eight million votes, however, it was still under the 50% mark, scoring only 46.1% of the votes so far.

The party’s performance may be poor, however, defeat is not something it is willing to accept. “We are not losers here. We are the leading party on the board and we have explained why our numbers have dropped,” said Duarte.

Talking coalitions, Duarte said that nothing was off the table. “There are many types of coalitions that exist, such as transactional coalitions.

“One thing is for sure is that we are not negotiating from a position of weakness.

“Coalitions are about compromise,” she said.

Duarte said the ANC’s approach to coalitions would be based on principles and not experience, as the recent experience with coalitions had not been positive. She said that, in many instances, coalitions resulted in “unstable and unswerving marriages”.

Mashatile said that they were open to discussing coalitions, but they were not desperate. He said that coalitions were sometimes messy “but the way voters voted have put us in this position”.

He said they were carefully considering how to go about the coalition proposals.

The ANC said they will make their final decision on coalitions at the extended national working council meeting on Friday.

Duarte again spoke of the poor voter turnout, saying that the low number of voters – especially in ANC strongholds – indicated a message that people were disappointed in the party “and we hear that message loud and clear”.

Duarte said the ANC is committed to doing better if given another chance.

When questioned about whether the low voter turnout and lack of support in KwaZulu-Natal was related to former president Jacob Zuma, Mashatile said that low voter turnout could be related to the recent unrest that rocked the province or the feeling among voters on election day, but it was not a Zuma issue.

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