(Genevieve Quintal, News24)
Johannesburg – ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe received mixed reactions from commuters at the Bree Street taxi rank in Johannesburg on Friday as he walked around, handing out pamphlets and urging people to register to vote.
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He walked up and down the packed taxi rank during peak hour, passing flyers to people standing in queues waiting for a taxi, telling them to "register to vote".
Some people were excited to see Mantashe. They crowded around him, tried to shake his hand and took selfies with him.
Some children asked to have a photo taken with the ANC secretary general.
A group of women outside the taxi rank ululated and sang.
Others just took the pamphlets and kept walking. A few refused to take the pamphlets.
Mantashe said he was trying to convince people to register because it would give them access and power to vote.
"Once you have that power, you can use it as you like," he told reporters.
Mantashe said the ANC was not campaigning at this time but just "nudging" people to register at the weekend.
"It's going well, others take it [the pamphlet] gladly, others take it for the sake of taking it, others say 'no, no, no we don't want it'."
When asked how he felt when people said no, Mantashe said: "I feel like I must talk to that person and try to persuade that person. In some instances I succeed, in some I don't succeed, that is the beauty of the work we are doing."
The Independent Electoral Commission of SA said earlier this week that nine million South Africans who were eligible to vote were not registered.
Gauteng had the highest number of registered voters with nearly six million.
Gloria Sithole from Soweto, who was waiting for a taxi home, said people needed to understand that the ANC was a political party, not government.
"The ANC is not going to go around to look for a house for us. You register and that's how you going to get a house," Sithole said.
"We are the government, the people, [President Jacob] Zuma is not the government, Mantashe is not the government, we are the government."
Sithole said she had always voted ANC and would continue to vote for the governing party.