Cape Town - The ANC says the DA’s “draconian” measures “equal to influx control”, seemingly aimed at keeping Cape Town white, would not stop it from celebrating its 103rd birthday on Saturday in the opposition-governed city.
“The Western Cape is still an apartheid province where the DA imposes influx controls to hold a rally,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters on Monday.
He was commenting on city regulations that governed the hiring of Cape Town Stadium.
“We are not going to walk away from Cape Town Stadium. We will paint Cape Town yellow. If it (the stadium) is full, we will paint Cape Town yellower. All the influx-control measures (are) to keep Cape Town white. We will contaminate Cape Town…”
But mayor Patricia de Lille has accused the ANC of lying, saying the party had to abide by the same rules to hire the stadium as anyone else.
In the May 2014 elections the ANC marginally boosted its support to 34 percent, up from 32.9 percent in 2009, and next year will see local government elections provide the ANC with another opportunity to make its presence felt in the province.
But on Monday Mantashe and other ANC provincial and national officials dismissed claims the party’s birthday celebrations would set the scene for municipal poll campaigning. Saturday’s rally was a birthday bash, they insisted, celebrated in Cape Town this year in accordance with the ANC tradition of moving the celebrations to a different province every year.
ANC national executive committee and organising committee member Nomvula Mokonyane and Mantashe confirmed the party had complied with what it called “all constraints and frustrations” not faced in any other city that has hosted the annual birthday celebrations.
* Paying R130 000 by close of business on Monday so it could erect the stage and other infrastructure inside the stadium from Tuesday, two days later then initially planned.
* Drawing 52 000 tickets from official ticketing outlets for people to be able to enter the stadium, as the city had demanded tickets for entry.
* Reprinting 4 000 posters for inner Cape Town to accommodate the city’s font and design demands, although this effectively means that posters for the event in townships were different as they were not affected by the font and design stipulations.
* Paying in full the R2.2 million required for the use of Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, even if ANC leaders described this as “unusual” as normally only a deposit is required up front.
However, De Lille said the ANC was lying.
“The upfront payment system is standard operating procedure for use of the stadium. All event organisers who use the stadium are subject to the same terms and conditions… No changes to this procedure have been made for the ANC event.”
She added: “It is very clear why the ANC’s support is not growing in the Western Cape and in Cape Town in particular, because they have no substance, no alternative policies and they are liars. The Western Cape is the best-run province and Cape Town is the best-run municipality in the country and the ANC just has to accept it.”
De Lille’s spokeswoman Zara Nicholson also dismissed ANC complaints that the city had manipulated the date for the traditional annual minstrels’ procession through central Cape Town to coincide with Saturday’s ANC birthday rally, saying city officials were informed only early on Monday that the procession would not take place on Monday.
The date had been moved several times due to Muslim and Christian religious requirements which coincided with the traditional second new year on January 2 and subsequent weekend.
The ANC on Monday indicated that it would respect the minstrels’ organising committee’s decision on when to hold the procession.
Despite Monday’s verbal sparring, much of the message expected for Saturday’s celebrations would be on the Western Cape’s contribution to the Struggle against apartheid, including the lives of the late Dullah Omar, democratic South Africa’s first justice minister, and activists like Ray Simon, Christmas Tinto, Reggie September, Johnny Issel and Anton Fransch.
“The Western Cape has never been outside of the Struggle… It has great heroes,” said Mantashe.
Throughout the week ANC officials, including President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, and national executive committee members will crisscross the province to raise awareness and get people to the birthday bash.
NEC communications sub-committee head Lindiwe Zulu indicated the message also would focus on celebrating the ANC’s longevity, its successes in government and the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
Focus on the Freedom Charter can be expected throughout the year, as the ANC plans several events and meetings this year.