More than 80 000 ANC supporters gather at Soweto stadium - Makhura

2016-06-04 15:30
Supporters gather at the FNB Stadium ahead of the party’s Gauteng manifesto launch. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Supporters gather at the FNB Stadium ahead of the party’s Gauteng manifesto launch. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - More than 80 000 ANC supporters had gathered at the FNB Stadium ahead of the party’s Gauteng manifesto launch by early afternoon on Saturday, Premier David Makhura said.

Makhuru took to the stage shortly after 13:00 to tell the crowd that 80 128 people had gone through the turnstiles and that 15 000 were still outside in buses waiting to come in to the 94 000-seater venue in Soweto.

Earlier, Makhura, who is also ANC Gauteng deputy chairperson, said that the organisers were “very confident that we will still fill up the stadium".

The party’s provincial branch has even had a social media campaign with the hashtag #fillupFNBStadium trending weeks in advance of the rally.

This followed the national manifesto launch flop in Port Elizabeth in April, when the party vowed that 110 000 people would attend, but only managed to attract about 42 000 people to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, which looked embarrassingly empty.

Two weeks later, the Economic Freedom Fighters filled the 40 000-capacity Orlando Stadium in Soweto to the brim for its manifesto launch.

'No use leaving the ANC'

Meanwhile on Saturday, music acts like Chomee and Oskido were keeping crowds entertained while organisers waited for the stands to fill up.

The formal programme was scheduled to begin at 11:00, but the arrival of buses – some 1 800 which were chartered to ferry supporters to the stadium from across Gauteng – were blamed for the delay.

Posters advertising the event have shown Gauteng Housing and Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile’s face, with the province saying President Jacob Zuma, who is set to deliver the keynote address, had only confirmed his attendance a few days ago. This was apparently too late to print posters with his face.

Two and a half years ago, in the same stadium, Zuma was booed in front of a number of other heads of state by supporters attending the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.

Five months later, just before the May 2014 general elections, the party filled the calabash stadium for a successful Siyanqoba rally with no disruptions.

Arriving earlier at the stadium on Saturday, Sindi Chauke from Diepkloof, Soweto, told News24 that she would never leave the ANC because it was her “roots”.

“Even though there are mistakes, I want them to fix them because there is no use leaving the ANC. It is where I chose to have my roots," she said.

Filled stadium

On Saturday, a middle-aged man walking into the FNB stadium with a friend said in isiXhosa to him: "Julius [Malema] and them must be worried, wherever they are".

Another man told a friend: "The ANC is going to fill the stadium. We are not playing."

Manifesto launches in Mpumulanga and Limpopo were scheduled for Sunday.

The Western Cape ANC postponed Sunday's manifesto launch in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, because ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would not be available. He was meant to have been the main speaker.

Many of the other provinces have already had their manifesto launches, including the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.

The KwaZulu-Natal manifesto launch was meant to have taken place three weeks ago, but was postponed after two party members died.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  anc

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