The Sowetan, September 21, 2010
The ANC wants to increase its white membership to become truly non-racial, party secretary general Gwede Mantashe says
“We would love 50% of white South Africans to vote for the ANC to fulfil our dream of becoming a truly non-racial party,” he told delegates.
The ANC had been engaging more aggressively with white communities, and found it easier to communicate with them through structures like the Afrikanerbond, he said.
Mantashe said the party needed to develop a more home-grown approach to win the support of coloured and Indian communities.
They had recently won a ward in Agulhas in the Western Cape by recruiting a fisherman to be the voice of the party in the region.
“We got a fisherman to be a candidate and every time I went to a meeting with him he was mumbling something,” said Mantashe.
“I couldn’t understand him, but the fishermen in the area understood him perfectly.
“The point is we have to have people in those communities who can speak to those communities.”
He said the party would push hard to win back support in the Western Cape, which is dominated by the Democratic Alliance.
On Monday the ANC said it was concerned about the rise of the DA and the threat of opposition parties forming coalitions.
The Organisational Review Report on the State of Organisation, compiled by Mantashe and tabled at the NGC calls for a detailed analysis “down to ward level”, after the ANC’s percentage of voters fell by 3% to 65.9% in the national election in 2009.
The report flagged the rise of support for the DA and the ability of the Congress of the People to have representation in all nine provinces, as well as the massive reduction in support for the Independent Democrats and the United Democratic Movement and the “near annihilation” of smaller parties.
The report said racial tensions “whipped up” after the death of Eugene Terre’Blanche, the leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, proved that the ultra-right wing was small and on the periphery of society.
“The organised formations in Afrikaans society distanced themselves from the AWB’s threats.
“It became clear to all of us that there is a big body in this community that is loyal to the Constitution and keen to make a contribution in building South Africa as a winning society.”