Ramaphosa puts in the final push for the ANC in the Western Cape

2016-07-29 07:13
Cyril Ramaphosa in Stellenbosch ( Jenni Evans, News24 )

Cape Town - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hit the campaign trail hard around Paarl and Stellenbosch on Thursday in an apparent bid to make up for the tumult of the party's list disputes and provincial leadership crisis.

''We know where you are coming from. We know the sweat, the blood, the toil of our forefathers.

''Let us not give them to the DA,'' he said from an ANC events van, while people stood in drizzle at the top of a shack-lined street.

His visit to the province follows that of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande wearing his ANC and SA Community Party cap, and Pravin Gordhan.

He extolled the virtues of the ANC, rattling off how many houses and grants it had organised for the poor.

''We pay R1 500 a month for SASSA grants,'' said Ramaphosa, pausing for a cheer, and continuing with a chant of ''Per month".

At a distance, at least 20 support cars, and a multitude of armed soldiers, policemen, and plain clothes security officials kept a close watch on the excited crowd.

The area consisted mostly of brightly painted shacks, with some government housing with solar panels on their roofs.

Some of the trees had satellite television aerials bolted to their trunks and women did washing in laundry basins outside their shacks, throwing the water downhill.

People lined the small street watching the spectacle, and local police and traffic police saturated the immediate area.

Children stood on the roofs of shacks and sat on tree branches for a better view, cheering him along as he introduced local leadership and ward candidates to cheers. Some people muttered when President Jacob Zuma was mentioned.

So much poverty

Babies on backs slept through the boom of the generator-operated loudspeakers, but it became too much for one man who collapsed in the mud with an epileptic fit. He was held until his tremors stopped and after being helped to his feet, carried on watching from where he had left off.

ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman was not present, but the provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs was in attendance, after being found guilty within the party of assaulting a researcher and going back to work.

''There is so much poverty here, so much needs to be done,'' he told News24 earlier.

Fransman said on Thursday that he had dropped legal action against party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and the Integrity Commission, saying his court action to get a report on his conduct released had "served its purpose".

He was accused by 21-year-old Louisa Wynand of sexual harassment while they were travelling to the party's January 8 celebrations in Rustenburg. He stepped aside for the matter to be dealt with, but on Monday said he had been cleared. Mantashe said this was not the case and so Fransman launched the court action in the Western Cape High Court.

That, and disputes over the candidate lists for the elections appeared to have crippled the provincial wing of the party which is working towards regaining control of the Western Cape.

Acting provincial chairperson and MP Dipuo Letsie-Dube said if it wasn't for its internal troubles in the Western Cape, the party would have made a clean sweep.

It had overwhelmed the party for a time but the campaign was back on track.

Blue shirts disappeared

''Had we had a proper strategy, I'm telling you, we would have surprised the DA,'' she said.

''They are at their weakest.''

With Breede Valley Municipality mayoral candidate Pat Marran among those on the stage, Ramaphosa told those gathered how many houses the ANC government had built and how many children were attending school because of its policies.

He said he had travelled the length and breadth of the country, but had never heard as many complaints over houses, toilets, and services as he did in the Western Cape.

Earlier there was a political traffic jam in Kayamandi as DA campaigners and supporters danced and sang up the same hill.

But as soon as the ANC truck appeared, the blue T-shirts people were wearing were nowhere to be seen.

Earlier in Mbekweni, outside Paarl, hundreds of people followed Ramaphosa on a lengthy door-to-door campaign.

He stopped along the way, greeting people and asking who they were going to vote for. Supporters sang outside each house as he went inside to speak to its residents. They shouted ''Skippa! Skippa!''(T-shirt), as they waited patiently for a free T-shirt.

One of Ramaphosa's stops was with elderly Nonini Adonis and Bathini Msebenzi, who told him about the problems they were having with their leaking roof.

Ramaphosa asked one of the ward councillor candidates to take the matter in hand for them, while a pet tortoise shuffled away from all the people squeezed into the home.

He spoke for around 10 minutes on a stage in Mbekweni, saying people should place their hopes in the ANC ward candidates if they wanted their lives to improve.

He rounded the day off with an invite-only dinner and discussion session with farmers at the Beyerskloof wine estate.

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