Guardian Liberty Voice had a chance to sit down with Percy Shongwe, a South African citizen employed at Engineering Company in Benoni Gauteng, South Africa, who said his vote for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party was not a vote for President Jacob Zuma. The ANC is the party he voted for, not Zuma.
Percy, proudly wearing his ANC shirt showing the picture of Zuma, said he received the shirt as a gift on May 7, a few weeks before the election. Shirts were given to the ANC supporters who attended rallies, along with house-to-house visits during the election campaign. Food parcels were also received by supporters of the ANC party.
Born in 1985, Percy has participated in the last three national elections and upholds his dedication to the ANC Party. The African National Congress, according to Percy, is the only trusted and respected party that people depend upon. It is the party that has changed lives of ordinary citizens. The ANC, he said, is the party that gave the nation its freedom and takes care of them.
Percy said that the view on Zuma is that he is not the ANC. He says the country firmly believes the ANC does not need Zuma. Corruption and poor governance was not from the ANC but the President Zuma himself.
The African National Congress is the party favored by the masses of South Africa and will always get their vote no matter what happens. According to Percy the ANC is the party they voted for in 1994 and will always remain the party of choice. The presidents of South Africa have not mattered: neither Mandela, Mbeki, or Zuma received their votes; it has always been the ANC people are voting for. When asked about Zuma and the Nkandla scandal, the reply was simply “the money is gone and there is nothing we can do about it.” The ANC, he said, is the party, not Zuma. He will go, but the ANC will always remain.
Commenting on the new Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party and Julius Malema, their charismatic leader, Percy laughed and shook his head. He does not accept that the EFF party can provide dependable governance like the ANC.
Percy, along with many of his co-workers, supports the ANC and remains steadfast no matter what their conditions may be. Their unwavering support is not easy to crumble. With the ultimate feeling of freedom they beam with pride, wearing their new yellow t-shirts and are ecstatic that their party, the ANC, is winning yet another national election.
Locals remain adamant that Zuma and the ANC are not connected. Zuma will have to go, he is not what the ANC stands for, Percy said. Proudly wearing his ANC t-shirt he said he does not believe any other political party in South Africa will ever have the power or success the ANC does.
The African National Congress has been the South African ruling party since 1994, and as long as local South Africans believe in the structure of that party they will always have a victory in national elections. The ANC is not responsible for the presidents, or government officials, or corruption, or poor service deliveries, it is Zuma.
Story by Laura Oneale
Interview with Percy Shongwe of Benoni, South Africa