ANC Manifesto Launch turns Journalists to Statisticians

2016-04-18 21:15

Is it half full?

Is it half empty?

A long standing debate between optimists and pessimists on the contents of a glass containing equal parts of whatever substance. This weekend the debate turned out to dominate headlines with journalist turned statisticians because of ANC’s Manifesto launch turn-out.

It is fair to write, question and report on the ANC not being able to fill a stadium it promised to fill. We must however be mindful that the Media creates its own political realities that are always disproven by actual political realities.

The group dubbed “Civil Society against President Zuma” also had their own rally at a Soweto community hall. Both the ANC Manifesto launch and the Civil Society rally did not have impressive turn-outs. For over three days social and print media’s trending topic was the ANC’s turnout; apparently, it signals things to come in local elections particularly at Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan. Some even went to suggest that the low turn-out is because of the Constitutional Court Judgement on the President.

These assertions are simply speculative and are disconnected from reality. ANC rallies held in stadiums are not regional but national events. Stadiums are not filled by only ANC supporters from the region of the rally but from all over the country from ANC branches. In 2015, the ANC held its birthday celebrations in a DA led City of Cape Town, a metro in a DA led Western Cape. The Green Point stadium was filled by ANC supporters and this wasn’t indicative of the DA losing its hold of the city nor the province but ANC display of its muscle in mobilizing. The conclusion that low turn-out this weekend is indicative of ANC eminent loss of the metro is a conclusion of a permanent resident of Bhofolo in Eastern Cape.

Also the assertion that the low turn-out is a result of the ConCourt judgement is far from the truth. In 2014, the ANC filled the FNB stadium for its Siyanqoba Rally with over 90 000 supporters a month after Public Protector released the report on Nkandla. Two months ago, the ANC filled another stadium in Rustenburg for its January 8th statement. All these stadiums were filled with ANC supporters under the same Nkandla debacle and intense media reporting on it. The Concourt judgment wouldn’t be a bigger deterrence to attend a rally if the Public Protector’s report wasn’t.

While journalist turned statisticians will tell you how many people turnout for the ANC Manifesto Launch and forget to tell you what the manifesto delivered by ANC entailed, they won’t forget to tell you about the Civil Society meeting against President Jacob Zuma held in Soweto. They will however conveniently forget to tell you its poor attendance and what it means because it does not go with the dominant narrative of a country against its President.

COPE President Mosiwa Likota who made a brave decision of withdrawing with his two MPs from parliament following the Concourt Judgement addressed an empty hall in Soweto on why the President should go. The only response he could hear was his eco from the empty hall. The 400 member parliament will miss him and his two MPs.

While the ANC failed to fill a stadium in Port Elizabeth can be squarely blamed on logistical and administrative reasons, one wonders why Likota and other leaders of the Civil Society Organisations addressed few people on their so called “People’s assembly” against the President.

We are in for an interesting month end; the President will addressed Freedom Day in Limpopo the same day the Civil Society organisation promises a march against him. Then the President will host a National Prayer in KwaZulu Natal followed by EFF launching its manifesto.

All these will happen within four days and can either prove or dispel the political political realities created by our journalist who are yet to tell us the content of ANC’s manifesto due to their brief positions of Statistician Generals.


Pictures from the People's Assembly Against the president in Soweto.

The Article is written by Esethu Hasane on his own personal capacity

Follow @esethuhasane


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