ANC gala a grand show of power

2013-01-14 00:00

THE ANC is on a roll and its 101st birthday celebration was a showcase of its mass appeal, financial muscle and increasing organisational ability.

More than 80 000 people turned up at the ANC’s bithday bash at Durban’s King’s Park Stadium on Saturday.

The party hired the entire stadium and the outlying fields for the event. It had earlier announced that a total of 1 120 buses, 670 minibus taxis and eight trains with the capacity to carry 16 000 passengers had been hired.

The party was expecting up to 50 000 people and the stadium has the capacity to hold 56 000 spectators. In the end, late arrivals could not gain entrance and were accommodated on two adjoining fields.

Commentators on the massive event have all mentioned its sheer scale and on the sight of the stadium stands a sea of yellow. The majority of supporters came wearing their yellow ANC T-shirts. The event went off without a single technical glitch.

The ANC is also improving on its punctuality and the event started a record half-an-hour late, beating previous major functions which have been known to start more than an hour late.

Guest speakers were asked to keep their comments to no more than two minutes and most did. Even the weather was kind to the ANC. It rained only briefly.

This did not deter supporters who came armed with their umbrellas. When President Jacob Zuma started delivering the party’s annual January 8th statement or its plan of action for the year, there were a few drops of rain and out came the umbrellas, but less than five minutes later the skies cleared.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said that despite the huge numbers, people were well behaved.

He said although some people were frustrated when they could not get into the packed stadium, they co-operated when persuaded to move on to the side fields.

While treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize was at the podium to welcome the capacity crowd, some supporters pushed to get closer to the stage.

Khoza ascribed the success of the Saturday’s celebration to the party’s emphasis on discipline since the Mangaung conference.

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