ANC positive about voter turnout
Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe put his "neck on a block" on Monday and predicted that voter turnout in Wednesday's local government election will exceed that of the 2006 polls.
"It's going to be better than 48%... because I've been there, we've talked to people, we have a sense of the mood," he said at a meeting with political journalists and editors.
"Our [the ANC's] support on the white vote is going to increase," he said.
Voter apathy was a concern ahead of the municipal election, with South Africans generally focusing more on national polls.
There was a 48 percentage poll in the last local government election.
The Independent Electoral Commission has launched a "Love your SA" campaign to get more people to vote.
Mantashe's said the "mood" this year was "close to that of the national election". "The turnout's going to be better this time," he said.
He said the ANC's election campaign had been a "good" one, and that the party had been to "every corner of the country" to drum up support.
The ANC wrapped up its campaign with a rally at FNB Stadium on Sunday. It drew a crowd of 91 000.
Monday's meeting was called to discuss the party's campaign, but was dominated by debate over the media's coverage of the ANC ahead of the May 18 polls.
Mantashe lashed out at the media over its coverage of the election.
"For a big part of this campaign, we had to swim against the media," he said, adding that for much of the campaign, the ANC had had to "rise" against the media.
He said journalists in the print media had "couched analysis as facts".
The electronic media had repeatedly shown negative images, without mentioning the positives.
"You stage-manage the message that comes out on electronic media," Mantashe said.
Journalists raised their own concerns, saying the ANC needed to manage its communication better.
Mantashe responded that if the ANC tried to manage the media better, the media would "cry control".
Citing editorials in two newspapers, which Mantashe did not name, he said they either "viciously" attacked the ANC or said nothing at all about the party.
He also criticised the media for "tampering" with ANC messages, saying the media felt it had a "monopoly of wisdom to know what society wants to hear".
"The media, for God's sake, must not tamper with our messages... give us a blackout rather," he said.
Earlier in the campaign, the ANC questioned the timing of certain stories published in the mainstream press, including reports on a plot by senior ANC members to oust President Jacob Zuma.