Battle for the capital

2009-04-15 00:00

The capital city and its surrounding areas were the battlegrounds for vote canvassing yesterday as the election trails of party titans ANC president Jacob Zuma and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi took them on routes in the city and parts of the midlands.

Bad weather in Bergville prevented Zuma from attending a rally in the city that would have marked the conclusion of his three-day provincial campaign set to culminate at Sweetwaters Stadium, leading to the disappointment of more than 2 000 people who had waited since 9 am for him.

The crowd were, however, kept entertained by music and the dancing of leaders, including councillors. The ANC supporters dispersed at around 4.30 pm.

ANC provincial chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize apologised on Zuma’s behalf. He explained to the supporters that the windy weather led to the cancellation of Zuma’s appearance.

Mkhize assured the supporters that Zuma was looking forward to coming to Sweetwaters. Talking while the crowd was dispersing, Mkhize said that Zuma will schedule another meeting with the people of Sweetwaters but it would be after the April 22 elections.

One of the disappointed supporters, Maria Sibanda (74), said she had been looking forward to seeing Zuma because she loves him.

Zuma started his last day of campaigning in the province in Maqongqo in Mkhambathini. There he expressed his confidence in the ANC winning next week’s elections “comfortably and by a large margin”. Addressing a crowd that went silent when he spoke, Zuma touched on some aspects of the ANC’s manifesto.

In a media briefing after his address, Zuma reiterated his confidence in winning the elections and said that the ANC will do the usual and this time around the percentages marking ANC’s victory will be higher than the previous elections.

Zuma said that the next ANC government will ensure that all the spheres of government work in harmony to advance service delivery and development. He said that the spheres of government will be guided by planning.

Buthelezi began his party’s campaign at KwaQanda Primary School in the Vulindlela area and it moved to the Elandskop taxi ranks, where Buthelezi outlined his party manifesto to the hundreds of people that had attended the rally.

The ANC president’s corruption charges, corruption in Parliament and rural development formed the cornerstones of his speech as he outlined the current government’s failures to address the public’s needs while the ruling party’s members line their pockets with taxpayer’s money.

He said since the ANC government took over, rural development has been neglected.

“If you look around, there is no rural development. Even the schools that exist for the children are the ones I built while I was still in the KwaZulu government,” said Buthelezi.

He said the ANC is too busy abusing the taxpayers as corruption has infected everybody from low-level party members to the most senior politicians in the land.

“In Parliament in Cape Town where I work, it stinks with corruption. The ruling party members steal from the public and use tax payer’s money inappropriately.”

Buthelezi also took aim at Zuma, saying he was limping to the Union Buildings because of the corruption accusations against him.

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