Inside FNB stadium ahead of ANC Gauteng's manifesto launch (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Johannesburg - Thousands of ANC supporters began to gather at the FNB Stadium late on Saturday morning, ahead of the party's Gauteng manifesto launch.
"I won't leave the ANC because it is my roots. Even though there are mistakes, I want them to fix them because there is no use leaving the ANC. It is where I chose to have my roots," Sindi Chauke from Diepkloof, Soweto told News24 as she made her way into the venue.
Chauke said she wanted the ruling the party to tackle living conditions in the townships, especially the problem of illegal dumping sites. "We are not surviving. I am also a victim of staying near these rubbish dumps."
Her sister Hellen said she hoped Zuma would mention the plans the ANC has to change the school system in township areas."We would like Zuma to improve in education".
Trying to fill stadium
By just before noon only the bottom tier of the stadium had a sizeable turnout. Children, adults and pensioners wearing ANC t-shirts and other branded regalia, sang and danced along to performances by entertainers on stage. President Jacob Zuma was expected to address the crowd later.
The ANC in the province will be doing its best to ensure the 94 000-seater FNB stadium is filled and that there is no repeat of a 2013 incident there in which Zuma was booed.
On Saturday, a middle-aged man walking into the FNB stadium with a friend said in isiXhosa to him, "Julius [Malema] and them must be worried wherever they are".
"We are very confident that we will still fill up the stadium," Gauteng Premier David Makhura said while walking along the outskirts of the FNB stadium co-ordinating traffic outside which was hindering buses from entering the grounds.
Another men told a friend, "The ANC is going to fill the stadium. We are not playing.".
The Gauteng manifesto launch is one of the party's most ambitious ahead of this year's local government elections in August. Even the national manifesto launch was held in the smaller 46 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The party expected 110 000 supporters at that event, but only about 42 000 turned up.
On Sunday, Zuma will be in Mpumalanga for that province’s manifesto launch.
The Western Cape ANC postponed Sunday's manifesto launch in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, because ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would not be available.He was meant to have been the main speaker.
In Limpopo, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize will be speaking at Monsterlus Stadium, in the Sekhukhune region, on Sunday.
Many of the other provinces have already had their manifesto launches.
In the Free State, Zuma addressed the launch in Botshabelo on May 14. The event had been postponed by a week and moved to a smaller stadium, something which a report in The Citizen attributed to divisions in the provincial ANC between pro- and anti-Zuma camps.
Later that day, Zuma addressed North West ANC supporters at the modestly-sized Taung Sport Ground.
A week earlier, the Northern Cape had its provincial manifesto launch in Kimberley, at which party deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte spoke.
The KwaZulu-Natal manifesto launch was meant to have taken place three weeks ago, but was postponed after two party members died.