- ANC's Siyanqoba rally was overshadowed by Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi being involved in a car accident, which also meant she was unable to take part in proceedings.
- Heavy rain also lead to the moderate crowd being forced to flee in search of shelter.
- Protests by residents near the venue rally venue also dampened what was meant to be a joyous occasion.
The ANC's final rally ahead of the municipal elections was overshadowed by Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi being involved in a car accident, which meant she could not take part in the Siyanqoba rally held in Soweto on Friday.
While addressing the moderate crowd at at Thokoza Park, ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula said Losi had unfortunately been involved in an accident and would no longer be able to participate in the rally.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla confirmed to News24 that Losi had been in a car crash.
"Yes, she [Losi] was involved in an accident. She survived the accident and is only going to hospital for standard medical checkups," said Pamla.
Heavy rain also disrupted the proceedings and forced the small crowd that had gathered to disperse just as ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium to deliver the final speech to try and woo South Africans to vote for the ANC.
We wish #COSATU President, #ZingiswaLosi a speedy recovery after being involved in an accident on her way to the #ANC Siyanqoba Rally in Soweto says @1Cosatu @eNCA @Radio702 @Newzroom405 @SAfmRadio @ewnupdates @VOWFMNEWS_ @JacaNews @DrBladeNzimande @MbalulaFikile @SACP1921 pic.twitter.com/3y7I3goFYc— @COSATU Today (@_cosatu) October 29, 2021
Earlier in the morning protests by community members who blocked roads leading to the venue for the ANC’s rally, had already put a damper on what was meant to be a cheerful occasion.
Most of the crowd that had started gathering at the venue as early as 10:00 managed to escape the rain, and Ramaphosa addressed the few individuals who had taken shelter in tents at the site.
Addressing mostly empty chairs, Ramaphosa said the ANC was committed to living up to the manifesto that it delivered almost a month ago in Tshwane where the party promised to overhaul the manner in which representatives were elected and how they served communities.
"We are committed to be more accountable and more responsive as directed by the ANC. One of our priorities is to improve the qualities and capabilities of officials in municipalities. Our renewal process is not just for representatives, but also for officials. The ANC has presented itself to the people of our country, it is cleaning itself and we are on a forward march to serve our people with distinction," said Ramaphosa.
He added that it was at local government level where the recovery and transformation of the economy ought to take place.
"This means that we must maintain local infrastructure and provide reliable and consistent services," said Ramaphosa.
He also promised that in this new dispensation of the ANC, local government officials would be afforded the space to work without undue political interference. Ramaphosa added that the ANC was also committing to concluding local government skills audits and changing the way in which municipalities have been managed.
Another promise made by Ramaphosa was that going forward, the party would ensure that councillors reside in the wards they oversee and not only interact with communities during election season.
With the municipal elections starting at the weekend with the special votes, the ANC said it was confident of doing well and regaining control of metros that the party had lost in the 2016 local government elections.