Western Cape ANC Brings Ebrahim Rasool Back From The Cold For 2019 Elections

The ANC in the Western Cape says Rasool is expected to help the party attract black and coloured voters.
Ebrahim Rasool.
Ebrahim Rasool.
John Lamparski via Getty Images

The ANC in the Western Cape has brought in controversial former Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool to head its 2019 campaign, the Mail & Guardian reported. On Monday, the ANC in the Western Cape reportedly said Rasool would be its provincial elections head, as it attempts to wrestle the province from the DA's grip next year.

The ANC reportedly plans to focus on winning over black and coloured communities as part of its plan. Provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs reportedly said on Monday that "African and coloured solidarity" would be part of the party's strategy.

According to Daily Maverick, Rasool was ousted by the ANC as premier in 2008, and was replaced with former public enterprises minister Lynne Browne, and the ANC subsequently lost the province to the DA in the 2009 elections.

Rasool was implicated in a brown-bag journalism scandal, where he reportedly paid journalists at the Cape Argus to write positive stories about him. One of those journalists reportedly testified to this effect in an affidavit but the issue was not resolved, and the full report of a commission of inquiry into the matter was never released, Daily Maverick reported.

Rasool was posted to Washington, D.C., as the South African ambassador to the U.S., where he has remained until now.

But Rasool reportedly maintained that he was removed because of factional politics. He told the Mail & Guardian that he was removed because of the politics of Polokwane, saying: "I was the dress rehearsal for Thabo Mbeki's removal."

According to IOL, ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula told the media on Monday: "Rasool will work with a team that will be accountable to the ANC leadership. Black and coloured people must feel like they belong in the province. There is a catastrophe that has pitted races against one another."

Rasool reportedly said the party was confident that it could win in 2019. He reportedly said that, according to opinion polls, the ANC's support was at about 51% in the Western Cape, compared to the 2009 elections when it was at 31.55%.

The party's support in the province has been on a downward spiral since 2006, according to eNCA. In the 2009 elections, the party's support reportedly slipped from 46% to 33%, and in the 2016 local government election, the party gained just 27% of the vote.

Mbalula reportedly said the party knows it must rebuild trust in the Western Cape.

"It is not about power, it is about winning trust. We need to say to the people of the Western Cape, where we committed mistakes we are ready to come back and rectify those mistakes," he said.

His re-emergence onto the political scene has sparked a number of debates on social media. On Twitter, former DA strategist and head of politics and governance at the South African Institute for Race Relations, Gareth van Onselen, tweeted a picture of an advert run by the Cape Argus in 2001, accusing coloured DA voters of being "coconuts".

The brown-bag envelope scandal has clearly not escaped the memories of many people, as well as his "racially divisive" campaigning over 10 years ago.

If you want to know anything about Ebrahim Rasool "the so called head of the ANC electioneering" read #RhodaKadalie 👇👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/tr6QJ9j3kH

— Ricardo Mackenzie (@ricardomackenzi) April 23, 2018