At an ANC fundraiser on the eve of the party’s 103rd anniversary, President Jacob Zuma said it had a superior claim to power than other political parties because it was born out of the need to defeat white colonial rule.
“You must remember that a man called Jan van Riebeek arrived here on April 6 1652 and that was the start of the trouble in this country,” Zuma told the event last night, where guests paid R3 million to sit at his table.
“What followed were a lot of struggles and war,” he said, adding that colonisation and the disenfranchisement of African people found its fullest expression two and a half centuries later with the declaration of the Union of South Africa.
He said the ANC was born in Mangaung in 1902 in response to this, not as a political party but as a liberation movement.
“This is important for us to understand why the ANC is different from other political parties.”
It was formed not just by South Africans but by the southern African region as a “vehicle to liberate black people” and Africans throughout the continent have long reminded its leadership that they too have a stake in the party because of its historical legacy.
Expanding on a message he has delivered on door to door visits in poor areas in the Cape Flats and Western Cape countryside throughout this week, Zuma hyperbolically said the ANC ruled “the whole country”.
To laughter from the audience, he quickly added that there might be “provincial administrations” but this did not alter the fact that the ANC was in power “even in the Western Province which is ruled by the Democratic Alliance.
“The ANC belongs to everyone in South Africa even if they belong to small little parties,” he said.
Earlier this week, Zuma said the province was “ruled by the wrong people”.
The party is celebrating its anniversary with a rally in the Cape Town stadium today in what is widely seen as a concerted effort to reclaim support in the province ahead of local government elections next year.