ANC campaigns in IFP stronghold

2011-04-26 00:00

NO violent incidents marked yesterday’s African National Congress election campaign in the traditional Inkatha Freedom Party stronghold of Ulundi yesterday.

The ANC used the occasion to welcome about 1 000 members who it said had defected, mainly from the IFP.

The ANC campaign in Ulundi, led by its KZN chairperson, Premier Zweli Mkhize, followed last week’s aborted attempt by the ANC Youth League in KZN to take a motorcade into the Nkonjeni area at the kwaPhindangeni homestead of IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The motorcade was blocked from entering the Nkonjeni road by armed IFP supporters who were under the impression that the ANCYL and its president Julius Malema wanted to forcefully go to Buthelezi’s homestead.

Yesterday Mkhize was welcomed at all the homes he visited during a door-to-door campaign in the Mbhoshongweni area of Ulundi. He was accompanied by provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and other senior provincial leaders.

Mkhize addressed a rally in a giant marquee, the same venue where the National Freedom Party’s Zanele Magwaza-Msibi launched the NFP’s Men’s Movement last week.

He declared that the phenomenon of no-go areas is coming to an end.

“We are encouraged by the support we got from the local people and we want to ensure that this time around the presence of the ANC is felt in rural areas as well. We want to capture some local municipalities and district councils that were previously held by other parties. Rural areas are faced by many challenges as a result of the legacy of apartheid and we want to help improve service delivery within them if we win during the coming elections.”

Among the defectors were branch level leaders of the IFP youth and women’s brigades. One of the branches is in Buthelezi’s Nkonjeni area.

Mkhize appealed to other political parties to exercise tolerance, telling the defectors, “My request is that your joining the ANC does not attract harassment and intimidation from your previous parties. We have information that other people who last week declared their support for the ANC are experiencing harassment.”

Last weekend the ANC welcomed more than 400 new members in the Nongoma area.

The ANCYL is planning to return to Nkonjeni on Saturday with another motorcade.

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