President Cyril Ramaphosa says as much as he is disappointed at the poor showing of the African National Congress (ANC) in the November 1 polls, their poor performance was a lesson for them to learn from and restore.
Speaking during a state visit by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ramaphosa was asked to comment on the ANC’s dismal performance in the polls, which saw the party lose its majority in the country’s main economic hubs.
Ramaphosa said: “I did say to President Kenyatta that his timing for visiting is really poor. He should have come on November 1. As a good friend he would have voted for us, so now we have lost [because] we did not have his vote.”
Ramaphosa said what is unfolding is “how democracy works”.
“This is the footsteps of democracy and we have seen it play out throughout the country and indeed, as the president of the governing party, it is disappointing for the ANC. But that is how we should accept the clear message of our people,” he said.
As the president of the country, Ramaphosa said he wanted to see “stability in our local government sector — whatever coalitions have been formed, or are being formed, will result in stable local government, and that we do not have instability and a collapse of local governments and motions of no confidence to a point where service delivery will not be given to the people of our country.”
Ramaphosa called on all those who have been victorious in the elections to “ensure that there are stable governments”.
He said he was particularly pleased to see female metro mayors elected.
“That is good for our agenda to promote the empowerment of women. It behoves well for the state of the republic.
“We wish those councillors who have been elected the very best, and may they continue to work for the people of various communities across the country. That’s all one can say at this stage,” he said.
While saying he did not wish to comment on domestic political matters, Kenyatta also weighed in.
“This is a mature democracy. Mine is to congratulate South Africans to say let us continue entrenching democracy as a way of government. We are proud of you. Results [are] one way this time, and next time [they] will be another way,” he said.
What was important, said Kenyatta, was that “democracy was at the root of South African society and that is something that South Africans should be proud of”.