Our people will weather the storm - Mbalula

2017-01-07 16:21
Fikile Mbalula (File)

Fikile Mbalula (File)

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Johannesburg - The ANC remains in high spirits and says it still expects capacity crowds at its 105th birthday celebrations at Orlando stadium on Sunday, despite predictions of rain.

Several of the party's plans for National Executive Committee (NEC) members to woo supporters and members in and around Soweto on Saturday to attend the celebrations were abandoned or scaled down due to persistent, sometimes heavy downpours.

But NEC member Fikile Mbalula remained confident that there would be a good turnout.

"Come rain or shine, we believe our members and supporters will come in their numbers," Mbalula told News24.

The party is marking its 105th birthday celebrations with the traditional January 8 statement by the NEC to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma.

The statement highlights the challenges facing the party and the plan of action for the new year.

With the theme "Unity in Action", the party wants to put forward a united front despite deep divisions, heightened by its elective conference in December.

‘We will weather the storm’

It will also be commemorating 100 years since the birth of its long-time president Oliver Tambo.

"We are still in high spirit. It is an important rally for the ANC amidst  all the negativity. We will weather the storm," Mbalula said.

"We are confident that our members will defy the prophets of doom countering our rally including [those on] social media."

The party has been hit by a social media backlash ahead of the event. Its Twitter campaign #IamANC saw users air their grievances against the party or use the opportunity to poke fun at it.

On Thursday the hashtag #DontFillupOrlando trended, with users urging people not to attend the party’s Sunday rally.

#DontfillupOrlando appeared to have gained traction following Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s tweet, "If you are young and find yourself at Orlando Stadium on Sunday, then you are a traitor,  the unemployed and the poor in Soweto must stay at home".

The ANC has urged those attending to bring raincoats and said it would improvise where it could at the stadium by providing a plastic shelter.

The party plans to fill the 40 000 capacity stadium and an overflow area has been arranged.  As many as 800 buses, including from neighbouring provinces, have been organised to ferry those attending.

Read more on:    anc  |  fikile mbalula  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  weather

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