Report: eHlanzeni ANC membership drops from 62k to 26k

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Report: eHlanzeni ANC membership drops from 62k to 26k
DEFLATED: Eyebrows were raised in 2017 when Mpumalanga's eHlanzeni region suddenly became the second largest ANC region in the country, alas that was to be short-lived as the party has recorded a steep decline of over 40% in membership numbers. PICTURE BY SABC

The huge decline is reflected in the era after DD Mabuza left Mpumalanga and could be attributed to his inflation of branches ahead of the Nasrec elective conference.


An internal report discussed at the Mpumalanga ANC’s 13th elective congress in Witbank two weeks ago show the membership of the Ehlanzeni region dropped from 62 829 to 26 299 within a space of four years.

The major fall could be attributed to deputy president David Mabuza’s inflation of branches in Mpumalanga which saw the eHlanzeni region becoming South Africa’s second biggest ANC region by membership ahead of the party’s 54th elective congress in Nasrec, Soweto in December 2017.

The report shows that in total the Mpumalanga province had 158 598 ANC members in 2017 but this has declined to 78 866 in 2021.

ALSO SEE: 314 branches attend Mpumalanga’s 13th provincial congress

The report doesn’t say why the province experienced this major fall but calls on party leaders to come up with a “recruitment campaign strategy”.

“It means we have to come up with a recruitment campaign strategy in order to improve the life of the organisation,” it reads.

The report shows Gert Sibande had 19 513 members in 2017 but also dropped to 17 132 in 2021. Nkangala dropped from 32 925 to 16 580 in the same year, while the former Bohlabela region, which was recently merged with eHlanzeni, had 43 331 members in 2017 and 19 014 in 2020.

ALSO SEE: EFF begins 1-million membership recruitment drive

The report also decries the support that the party has been losing in the past 12 years, losing Lekwa, Govan Mbeki and Steve Tshwete local municipalities during the November 2021 local government elections.

The party got 42% in Lekwa, 41% in Govan Mbeki and 37% in Steve Tshwete – owing to the arrogance of leaders in power, empty promises, infighting, poor service delivery, corruption and the high unemployment rate which sees the unemployed believing that ANC politicians are merely using them as voting sheep – while they live expensive lifestyles at their expense.

In Mbombela, the election results for the ANC dropped from 84% in the 2011 local government elections to 65% in 2021, Msukaligwa (81% to 61%), eMalahleni (71% to 50%), Mkhondo (72% to 54%), Dipaleseng (57% to 54%), Nkomazi (89% to 72%), JS Moroka (80% to 60%), Thaba Chweu (73% to 58%), Bushbuckridge (74% to 66%), eMakhazeni (74% to 64%), Pixley ka Seme (74% to 61%), Thembisile Hani (79% to 62%), Victor Khanye (75% to 52%) and Chief Albert Luthuli (90% to 76%).

The report blames this on a number of factors, including the issue of leaders who leave the party to contest elections as independent candidates after being elected by what they say are “manipulated” internal processes.

The province in total had 154 independent candidates who contested in the November 2021 local government elections – the highest being in Thembisile Hani at 29, Bushbuckridge 19 and Nkomazi 14.

“Even with the decline in voter turnout but Mpumalanga still performed better than other provinces. The loss of appetite by [people] to participate in the [elections] was highly visible across the entire country,” reads the report, adding that South Africa experienced the lowest voter attendance “in the history of our democracy”.

(edited by ZK)
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