THE African National Congress’s (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said on Thursday she is confident that the party will win back its voters in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Ms Duarte was speaking outside the Port Elizabeth city hall. She also said the ANC’s door to door campaign was helping it connect to people in the area.
ANC heavyweights are in Port Elizabeth for the launch of the party’s local government manifesto on the weekend.
“We are confident that the people will return to the ANC to run the city, and we are not arrogant about it,” she said.
Nelson Mandela metro has been described as the municipality that the ANC could lose in the August 3 municipal elections. Support for the party in the metro fell below 50% in the 2014 provincial elections.
“The interesting thing is that people’s interests are shifting; they are now talking about the costs of the services they are getting,” Ms Duarte said.
She said that although residents didn’t ask too many questions about the party’s recent controversies, they are still of concern.
“I think people are concerned about it (problems in the ANC), as are we, but so far I’m speaking for myself, the number of homes I’ve got into – people have not raised that issue, they’ve raised their local concerns. They have not talked about Nkandla, they have not talked about parliament but, nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t act to make sure that things are improved,” said Ms Duarte.
Some ANC branches have been calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down, following the Constitutional Court’s finding that he had violated his oath of office in the Nkandla matter.
However, the party has chastised the branches, saying they should allow the party to deal with matters internally.
Ms Duarte said: “People raised their concerns, but very clearly the message we got was, we are going to unite the ANC, we’re going to unite the people of SA and we’re taking this country forward. We cannot take advice from our enemies (opposition parties) whose job in any event it is to divide the ANC so that they (the opposition) can grow stronger. We cannot allow that and we will not allow that,” she said.