David Makhura. Picture: AFP/WIKUS DE WET
David Makhura. Picture: AFP/WIKUS DE WET

Gauteng ANC chairman David Makhura has warned party members not to “mess up” the image of the party, saying it would face the wrath of “unforgiving” voters if that continues.

The ANC narrowly hung on to the majority of the votes in the Gauteng province in the general elections in May. This was after the party suffered a massive decline in the 2016 local government elections. 

In the 2016 municipal elections the ANC lost the majority support in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros, but narrowly succeeded in keeping control of Ekurhuleni via a coalition with the African Independent Congress. 

The loss of the metros and other municipalities across the country was a wake-up call and the party hopes to win back the metros in the 2021 local government elections. 

Makhura, who is the premier of Gauteng, was speaking at a local government summit in his capacity as ANC chairman. He told delegates in Ekurhuleni on Monday that if the party wanted to clean up state institutions and ensure that they work “we must crack the whip”. 

The summit was convened to discuss the immediate challenges confronting municipalities in Gauteng. 

Makhura said the ANC campaigned hard to win the general elections, and where it won and remained in charge “we can’t allow anyone to mess up the image of our organisation because as the ANC (we) will feel the consequences of it.”

Dealing with the issue of cooperative governance, he said it was a “big challenge” where DA-led coalitions had taken control since 2016 in Tshwane and Johannesburg. 

Makhura said he worked well in the City of Tshwane, but the City of Johannesburg was “difficult” to work with. 

The provincial government and Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba have had a frosty relationship since Mashaba took office. The ANC in Johannesburg, which is in the opposition benches, last week withdrew a motion of no confidence in Mashaba but said it hoped to retable the motion in September.

A level of political maturity will be required in terms of how a party played a role in government, as opposed to when a party is in opposition, Makhuru said.