NOTE: This was an April Fool's Day joke and is not based on fact. Comments revealing the prank were hidden earlier.
Cape Town - With the elections just over a month away, the Democratic Alliance announced on Tuesday that party leader Helen Zille is to step up her campaign by getting closer to the party's target voters.
In a media statement, the party said Zille would be forgoing her normal lifestyle as Western Cape premier and be moving into the township of Khayelitsha for the last two weeks before the 7 May elections. Other party leaders would take over her final campaign commitments.
According to the statement, Zille believed that one could not put oneself forward as a presidential candidate without experiencing and truly understanding how the average South African lived.
She therefore decided to go and live in a shack in Khayelitsha, surviving on a minimum wage and experiencing the controversial bucket toilet system.
"I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty," Zille said, unlike "other" politicians who were happy to live off the taxpayers' hard-earned rands.
The campaign forms part of a larger elecnomination drive aimed at encouraging politicians to live life as an average South African.
The elecnominations are inspired by the raknomination drive started earlier this year. To view 24.com’s raknomination click here.
Zille told News24 her elecnomination would be extended to all parties standing in the 2014 elections. “It’s important we get to know the communities voting for us.”
ANC Western Cape spokesperson Thando Flungdungane said Zille's announcement "smacked of political opportunism" in the run-up to the elections. "We all know she's just doing this to make newspaper headlines."
The spokesperson added that former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale had done the same thing in 2009, spending a night in Diepsloot. "It didn't really help him much," he said, referring to Sexwale losing his ministerial role in a subsequent Cabinet reshuffle.