S. African ruling celebration vows to win again help amid declining recognition

CAPE TOWN, March 7 (Xinhua) — South Africa’s ruling party African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday vowed to redouble its campaign efforts to boost declining public support.

As the ANC’s election campaign intensifies in the run-up to the May 8 election, the party will return with an increased majority, ANC’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu said here following the ANC’s final caucus meeting in Parliament.

Mthembu responded to a poll conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations in February, which showed the ANC loosing nationwide public support steadily and especially in the northern Gauteng Province.

According to the poll, only 54.7 percent of those surveyed will vote for the ANC, down from the 62.1 percent the party garnered in 2014.

In Gauteng Province, which contains the country’s largest city Johannesburg and its administrative capital Pretoria, the poll puts the ANC’s support at 41 percent, a 12-percent drop from the 53.6 percent in the last general election. The scenario would set the stage for a possible coalition government in the province.

Mthembu acknowledged that the ANC is worried about the poll results, particularly about the declining support in Gauteng, which is currently run by the ANC.

He ruled out the possibility of forming a coalition government with the opposition even when the ANC is threatened with losing state power.

The ANC, the oldest liberation movement in Africa, came to power in 1994 following the downfall of apartheid. The party has remained dominant ever since.

But the ANC has been gripped by corruption and poor economic performance, which are believed to be the main factors that are eroding the party’s support.