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A sunny sky flashed blue through an umbrella of spreading yellow ANC T-shirts in Kwa-Thema in Springs on the East Rand on Friday where President Jacob Zuma went on a door-to-door campaign for elections.
Elderly people arrived on Mokoe Street as a scraggly parade of marching and singing supporters were accompanied by a convoy of blue-light black BMWs echoing with struggle songs.
A weary looking Zuma stepped into the neighbourhood and homes of mainly ANC supporters who had been prepared by party volunteers for his impending visit minutes before he arrived, and it wasn’t long before cheering began.
He shook hands, hugged children and posed for pictures with residents who chanted his clan name - Nxamalala - as he went from one house to the next.
A young boy in school uniform said: “We are here to see our father” while another simply yelled to his friends, “Nangu uMsholozi – there comes Msholozi.”
A smiling, waving Zuma strolled into 74-year-old Maria Matebesi-Mkhumbeni’s house, and she delightedly thanked him for visiting her, assuring the president of her vote next month.
But as he listened to Matebesi-Mkhumbeni’s appreciation, another elderly neighbour interrupted them to tell Zuma of her children’s battle to get a house.
He responded: “We’ve heard you. This is a big issue (housing delivery). I think the issue of housing is being dealt with by the municipality. They have little problems but they are sorting them out. I heard them say this to me.”
Then Zuma, dressed in a black and green leather jacket, went to Jerome Buthelezi’s house to tell him he had come to see how people were living and make sure they were still holding on to the ANC.
He told Buthelezi that the ANC was committed to changing people’s lives and the country for the better.
Buthelezi said he admired Zuma whom he described as an “uncompromising leader who calls a spade a spade”.
Before the parade wound to its destination at Bulithando Park, where Zuma addressed a mini rally of waiting supporters, he stopped to pay a visit to Gordon Magazi’s home.
Magazi pledged his loyalty to the ANC but warned: “We want real men to take us forward to where we want this country to go. We want fearless men and women.
“We worked for the ANC when people were dying in the streets and we will continue to do so,” Magazi added.
At the impromptu rally Zuma worked the crowd with his signature Umshini Wami song and staked his claim for re-election to a second term by urging the supporters to “come out in numbers next month to vote ANC”.
He said buses would be sent to the township to collect supporters for the final rally before elections at FNB stadium and urged them to come because there would be enough T-shirts for everyone.
As his motorcade left the township, one motorist driving past quipped: “They say they don’t like Zuma but look at the crowd that came to see him.”
Earlier in the day Zuma had visited Duduza, Tsakane and ended in Tembisa where he met mostly elderly people and spoke at a mini rally.