ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula. Juniour Khumalo/News24

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said the party will work with communities from the opposition benches in metropolitan municipalities where it failed to govern.

The ANC dropped to below 50% of the national vote and lost power in the three Gauteng key metros during the local government elections, its worst election showing since coming to power in 1994.  

Mbalula was briefing the media on Thursday after talks on coalitions following the elections.

He said the party has been able to form coalitions in the Nelson Mandela Bay and eThekwini metros.

However, he said while the ANC spoke to various other parties about cooperation and forming coalitions, it did not engage the Democratic Alliance (DA).

“We did not have any discussions with the Democratic Alliance. We had a choice to engage with the DA, because we and the DA have the majority in the country in terms of the municipalities. But our national executive committee did not mandate us to have an agreement and a coalition agreement with the Democratic Alliance,” said Mbalula.

Mbalula disputed allegations by the EFF that talks collapsed because the ANC had not been interested in talking about principles but was in a rush to discuss power sharing. 

“It’s untrue what [the EFF leader Julius] Malema said. We never got that far in our talks with them. We only had one meeting and when we were supposed to have the follow-up meeting, we heard that they were no longer willing to talk to the ANC,” he said.

“Maybe, they were never willing to engage and used the talks as a scapegoat to say that talks failed with the ANC and then went on to support the DA.”

Mbalula said the party acknowledged and welcomed the role played by a number of parties who have agreed to co-operate with the ANC in pursuit ‘of the objective of building better communities and improving the lives of the people of these municipalities.’

“In totality, the ANC received a clear mandate in the majority of local areas. We do acknowledge, however, that we have not done well in others. Of the total votes cast throughout the country, the ANC received 45.6% of the popular vote and a majority in 167 councils,” he said.

Mbalula also admitted that many South Africans are clearly not happy with the ANC.

He said what was needed going forward was for the ANC to take stock of what had happened and correct the mistakes that led to South Africans not voting for it. 

“During our election campaign, the ANC heard the concerns of the people. We will ensure that our programs respond to these needs and concerns. We value the input and counsel from our people,” said Mbalula.

“We will ensure that our public representatives honour the commitments made in our local government election manifesto. We will ensure accountability and responsiveness from our representatives through contracts of deployment and performance agreements. We will work to ensure transparency and people-centred governance.”

Political analysts said the fallout from the elections could lead to a split in the ruling party but prove to be good for South African voters.

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