This article examines the African National Congress's (ANC) declining electoral performance in the Western Cape. Its contention is that such decline reflects a failure by the ANC to temper its historically African nationalist orientation in cognisance of the minority status of the African population in the Western Cape. Nonetheless, the selection of Tony Ehrenreich as the mayoral candidate for the ANC in the Western Cape reflects an attempt by the party to move away from identity politics and more towards working-class politics. But, does this presuppose a triumph of the political over racial and religious identities? This question undergirds the essence of the discourse of the article in terms of its proposition.
Most analyses see electoral outcomes as a reflection of voters' evaluation of the incumbent leaders. Other literature, however, focuses our attention on the centrality of the institution of the party in attaining electoral victory. Parties do so through their efficient functioning as electoral machinery as well their ability to command a sizeable loyal following, galvanised by the values and the principles on which the party is founded and which it continues to espouse. That partisan following is just as critical in winning an election as getting new non-partisan voters. But loss of support among the partisan supporters, which is often forgiving of the party's mishaps, is even more perilous to the continuing popularity of a party.
This article examines the dynamics within the African National Congress (ANC) in relation to its performance in the recent local elections. It argues that the party's performance indicates a growing alienation of its traditional support-base. The article ascribes this phenomenon to local leaders' flouting of organisational principles in their determination to use the organisation as an instrument for material accumulation.