Johannesburg – The ANC in three provinces will be scrambling to fill stadiums this weekend to ensure the party conveys its local government elections message to voters.
The Western Cape ANC cancelled its events at the last minute on Friday.
President Jacob Zuma is expected to speak in two provinces. He will be in Gauteng on Saturday, where the province will do its best to ensure the 94 000-seater FNB stadium is filled and that there is no repeat of a 2013 booing incident there against Zuma. On Sunday, he will be in Mpumalanga and is likely to be received more warmly.
Gauteng’s manifesto launch is one of the most ambitious for this year’s local government elections in August. Even the national manifesto launch was held in a smaller stadium, the 46 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The party expected 110 000 supporters, but only about 42 000 turned up.
In Limpopo, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize will be speaking at Monsterlus Stadium, in the Sekhukhune region, on Sunday.
In the Western Cape, the 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.
Door-to-door, dinner postponed
On Saturday, Ramaphosa was meant to have gone door-to-door campaigning in Mitchells Plain, and address a professional’s dinner, costing R1 000 a person. These events had also been postponed, provincial party spokesperson Yonela Diko said. They would be held in two weeks.
Many of the other provinces have already had their manifesto launches. In the Free State, Zuma addressed the manifesto 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.