Suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus has launched a #RamaphosaMustFall hashtag campaign on Twitter, citing the ANC’s poor local government election results.
This is the first time Niehaus, who was the spokesperson of the disbanded uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), has publicly called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to be removed as ANC President.
“Some ANC leaders proclaimed President Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC ‘saviour’. He was made the face of our campaign. It became a referendum on Ramaphosa. What a disaster! With 46% we fell for the first time below 50%. A resounding vote of no confidence. To save our ANC, Ramaphosa must go!” he tweeted on Friday (5 November).
“To all comrades, ANC members and concerned South Africans who want to save our beloved liberation movement the ANC, push this hashtag (#): #RamaphosaMustGo!”
Niehaus is a staunch supporter of former President Jacob Zuma and suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule. Both leaders are believed to be opposed to Ramaphosa’s leadership of the ANC.
The ANC suspended Niehaus in July for making “inflammatory speeches” outside Zuma’s Nkandla home. He had repeatedly warned that South Africa could be plunged into instability if Zuma was arrested.
In September, the party also fired him from his job as a staffer in Magashule’s office soon after he threatened to lay criminal charges against its top 5 leaders, including Ramaphosa, over staff salary grievances.
This was on the back of two earlier written warnings the ANC had issued him over his controversial public pronouncements and “conduct which sought to undermine [the ANC] as your employer.”
ANC’s election results
The ANC suffered its worst election results since 1994, dipping below 50% of the national vote for the first time. According to the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) final results, the party won 46.05%, down from 53.91% it registered in the 2016 local government elections.
Its share of the vote also plunged in several metros across the country, including eThekwini where it lost its outright majority. Its leaders have blamed low voter turnout in its strongholds, adding that through that, voters have expressed their unhappiness with the party because of corruption and poor service delivery.
Although the spotlight is now on Ramaphosa, ANC’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula has defended him.
“The reality of the matter is that without the President as our arsenal in this campaign, we would have been politically annihilated. Were it not for the kind of President we have, we would be at 30%,” Mbalula said in an interview on Thursday.