- Fikile Mbalula says the ANC could have fallen to 40% support without Cyril Ramaphosa
- He said that Ramaphosa's election to the party leadership represented a change for the party
- Nevertheless, he admitted that the ANC had to work hard this year for the votes it received
Fikile Mbalula, the ANC's head of elections, has said that the party's share of the vote in this election would have been 40% if Ramaphosa had not been victorious at Nasrrec in 2017.
Mbalula made the comments at the IEC results centre on Thursday.
He said that Ramaphosa's election as party leader indicated a change in direction for the ANC.
At Nasrec, Ramaphosa defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was widely viewed as representing the ANC faction loyal to her ex-husband, Jacob Zuma.
Since taking over the party leadership, Ramaphosa has preached a message of renewal. While the Zuma years dealt a harsh blow to the ANC's reputation among many voters, Ramaphosa himself has remained personally popular.
As a result, his appearance on the ANC ballot is likely to have helped the party during this election.
However, Mbalula admitted that the ANC still had to work hard for all the votes it won this year, according to Times Live.
He also criticsed the DA's campaign strategy, saying they had blundered by spending too much time attacking Ramaphosa rather than spreading their own message, Briefly.co.za has gathered.
With three quarters of the ballots counted, the ANC's share of the vote sits at roughly 57%. This represents a decrease from past elections, but keeps the ruling party firmly in power for the next five years.
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