Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

CALLS for President Jacob Zuma to take responsibility for the party’s dismal showing at the recent local government elections are getting louder and more frequent.

Some ANC branches and structures are rebelling against their leaders’ call that the national executive committee (NEC) take collective responsibility for the electoral decline. Instead, they lay the blame squarely on Zuma’s shoulders.

ANC support fell by eight percentage points nationally and it lost the three key metros of Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Johannesburg. It only just managed to retain its traditional stronghold, Ekurhuleni, courtesy of a coalition with smaller parties.

The NEC has been to Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape to canvass the views of the branches. And in both provinces, members wanted the president to take responsibility.

ANC members in Mpumalanga, who wished to remain anonymous, said engagement with the NEC was minimal.

"It is very difficult to call an entire community to a stadium and expect that people will raise their views, particularly in Mpumalanga, where we are threatened — your lives, your family, your job.

"But we said to the ANC it should come to branches, that’s where you are going to listen properly to what branches are saying," he said.

A number of branches in the province felt Zuma was to blame for the electoral decline. This was despite the fact the party’s provincial chairman, David Mabuza, is an ally of Zuma.

"We did not lose elections because of service delivery issues, but because of values and morals that the organisation has lost," the members said.

Branches in the Eastern Cape’s two metros, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay, and the provincial ANC Youth League have also called on Zuma to resign.

The NEC is expected to visit Limpopo, North West and the Free State this weekend.

A group of ANC members organising a protest at the party headquarters over its poor leadership expects to be joined by between 2,000 and 3,000 party members on Monday.

One organiser of Occupy Luthuli House, Bonolo Ramokhele, said the majority of those expected would be from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Free State and the North West.

Leaders from the North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State are strong allies of Zuma and make up the dominant faction in the party, dubbed the "premier league".

Ramokhele said Occupy Luthuli House was not organised by a specific structure of the party or a faction, but by ordinary ANC members.

"It’s literally ordinary ANC members who just got together during the mourning period of [losing] Johannesburg and Tshwane and they said ‘we must do something.’"

Before the elections, the Sefako Makgatho branch in Johannesburg called on Zuma to step down, or for the ANC to take disciplinary action against him.

With Natasha Marrian