Cape Town - Criticism of the Democratic Alliance and the media featured strongly in speeches at the Congress of South African Trade Unions May Day rally in the Athlone Stadium here on Sunday.
Present at the rally were African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, Cape Town’s ANC mayoral candidate Tony Ehrenreich, SA Communist Party (SACP) secretary general Blade Nzimande as well as several ministers.
A low turnout of just more than 1 000 people at the 40 000-seater stadium did not seem to worry the speakers who took to the stage and condemned the DA for not doing enough for the poor people living in Cape Town.
Ehrenreich said the DA failed to provide proper public transport, health and education facilities for the poor.
The DA had in fact built them open air toilets, while the party took care of the rich, he said.
As mayor if the ANC won the upcoming local government election, he said he would ensure better health, education and housing in places like Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu.
He also promised to build houses for the poor in Constantia should the ANC win.
"The first thing to do is build homes for our people in Constantia where government owns land," he said to cheers from the crowd.
While the ANC was aware of the gap between the promises in the Freedom Charter and what was actually being done, the party had "done much for the people" and would continue to do so, he said.
He added that the ANC will win Cape Town and declare it a “decent work city”.
Nzimande agreed that the ANC would win Cape Town on May 18 and accused the opposition and the media of working together against the ANC.
He said the good that the ANC did was never written about instead the “bosses and their media” spread messages of “despair”.
“Yes there are many challenges… but the capitalist bosses and their media want us to lose trust in our vote and hope in our democracy.
“They want us lose confidence in the government we’ve voted for.”
Nzimande said the “bosses and their media” also continually tried to get Cosatu or the SACP to fight elections on their own because “they” wanted to divide majority power.
“Everytime we have an election, there is a whole media industry that clicks into action, supporting anything that is anti-ANC, anti-alliance.”
He described the DA as “two stooges and a madam” and urged people not to take them seriously as Cape Town was “the most unequal city” in the country.
It’s a city where the “rich are very rich and the majority are poor”.
Nzimande went on to urge people to vote for the ANC to place the economy onto a new job-creating growth path.
He said the new national growth path and industrial policy action plan would ensure a focus on job creation, decent work and sustainable livelihoods.
Zuma, who spoke to a much smaller audience as many people began to trickle out of the stadium by late afternoon, said that election provided an opportunity for the people of Cape Town and the province to make a new beginning.
“The elections provide an opportunity to make new choices that will take the province back to its proud non-racial and inclusive Congress tradition.
"This we can do by giving the ANC an overwhelming majority that would make it impossible for other parties to repeat what they did in the past, of ganging up against the ANC in Cape Town and the Western Cape.
“On the 18th of May, we must declare that the time has come to free Cape Town and the Western Cape.”
Zuma said the ANC had done much in terms of job creation, housing, education and of providing water and electricity to the poor, but he said the party was aware that much more needed to be done.
He said Cape Town was also a priority for the party and promised development in all sectors.
Zuma also assured that the alliance was strong and unified.
He said Workers' Day was a celebration of the alliance between the national liberation movement the ANC, the trade union movement and the vanguard of the working class, the SACP.
“The three components of the alliance work together in a special relationship, aimed at liberating our people initially from apartheid and colonial oppression, and from poverty, deprivation and general underdevelopment.
“We reaffirm this alliance, and commit ourselves to continue working together… On this day we renew our call for the unity of the Alliance, which was forged in struggle.”
Zuma also introduced 13 new members to the ANC from other political parties.
One of whom was the leader of the Twelve Apostles Church in Cape Town and a former member of the United Democratic Movement, Dumisani Ximbi.
Zuma said Ximbi’s followers at church, which numbered one million, were sure to follow him to the ANC and vote for the party on May 18.
Zuma, who had been in Cape Town since Saturday campaigning ahead of the local government election, would return to the city before May 18, spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.