By Candice Bailey, Mogomotsi Magome and Loyisa Sidimba
Johannesburg - what will be their single biggest rally since the start of election campaigning, the ANC is preparing to host close to 300 000 supporters across the country on Sunday for its Siyanqoba “victory” rally.
Wrapping up before elections on Wednesday, the ruling party will bus in supporters on 1 917 buses from all corners of Gauteng as well as Mpumalanga, Free State, Limpopo and North West provinces to Soccer City Stadium in Soweto.
It will simultaneously hold four provincial rallies in KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
President Jacob Zuma, who will be the main speaker, has no sweet memories of FNB Stadium.
This is where he was booed last year during former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, and during the international soccer friendly between South Africa and Brazil.
Each province will have its own local programme but Zuma’s address at 1pm followed by the party’s leagues and its alliance partners will be broadcast to all four venues.
After Zuma’s speech, which is set to highlight the gains in service delivery over 20 years, patrons will be treated to a star-studded line-up by SAMA award winners Mafikizolo, Zahara, Ifani, Professor, Mzwakhe Mbuli and a host of DJs.
The party is expecting 160 000 people at Soccer City – 92 000 who will be inside and 68 000 who will be accommodated in three overflow areas outside the stadium.
At least 1 500 marshals have been deployed to the stadium.
In the provinces, they are expecting 55 000 people in KwaZulu-Natal, 5 000 in the Northern Cape, 60 000 in the Eastern Cape and 20 000 in the Western Cape.
The rally will be broadcast live on SABC, eNCA and ANN7.
ANC spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni said the rally was not only a show of strength but a consolidatory message encouraging people to vote for the party.
“Our people are ready. We are confident that we have the manifesto that moves the country forward,” said Sangoni.
This, however, was not their final drive, said Sangoni.
“Until the last voting station is closed, the ANC will continue speak to people doing door to door visits and church to church visits,”
On Monday Zuma will address an editors’ briefing and on Wednesday he will cast his vote at the Ntolwane Primary School in KwaNxamalala, Nkandla.
The ace up the Democratic Alliance’s sleeve is its impressive governing record in the Western Cape, its ability to draw masses to its events and its standpoint that the ANC has changed, for the worse.
The DA strategically chose Gauteng, its next big target after the Western Cape, as a venue for one of its final events. Yesterday the final rally was held at the Coca Cola dome, north of Johannesburg, and on Sunday the DA will host a concert 15km from where the ANC will be holding its Siyanqoba rally.
The DA script was designed to poke holes in the ANC campaign, assert itself as the only real threat to the ANC and to dismiss smaller political parties.
The DA also returned to popular campaign rallying points such as the R246m spent on President Zuma’s home Nkandla contrasted with lack of service delivery in rural communities. Further ammunition will be high unemployment, slow job creation and corruption.
DA leader Helen Zille said when a government became corrupt the economy declined, unemployment grew, poverty deepened and the powerful few got richer.
“That is the sad story of our own country over the last five years.
“It does not have to be this way,” said Zille.
She said under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC had changed. Its leaders believed they would “rule forever” and had forgotten about the voters who put them in power.
The ANC had become arrogant because it believed the voters would carry on voting for them, no matter what they did.
“Well, they are in for a big shock on Wednesday. Bazokothuka. Hulle gaan groot skrik. Because everywhere we have been in South Africa the people have told us the same thing. iANC Ayisafani,” she said.
She asked people when they voted to remember where the DA governed, unemployment was at its lowest.
“We have created more jobs than any other provinces, and we have cut corruption,” she said.
Zille said since the party gained control of the Western Cape, unemployment was 12 percent lower than the national average and the matric pass rate had increased from 57 to 73 percent in the province.
She said the upcoming election came down to two basic questions.
“Is SA a better place than it was five years ago? Is your life better than it was in 2009? For most South Africans, the answer is ‘no’.
Zille called on voters to stand with the party and see what it could do in the next five years.
EFF and others
Both the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Economic Freedom Fighters will host their final campaign rallies on Sunday.
After putting up a fight in court to get a stadium, Julius Malema’s red berets will gather for their Tshela Thupa rally at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, on Sunday while the IFP will hold its final elections rally at the Ulundi Regional Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.
The UDM and ACDP both held their last events on Saturday at the Rotary Stadium in Ngangelizwe, Mthatha and the Saulsville Arena, Atteridgeville respectively, while Agang campaigned at the Seshego Stadium in Limpopo.
Of the smaller parties, the EFF – as the newest political party on the block – has had the most active election campaign.
Last week it was forced to take the Tshwane municipality to court after it cancelled a provisional agreement the party concluded with them on April 23 for hiring the stadium.
At the same time it lost a bid at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s compliance and complaints committee to have its public election campaign telling voters to physically destroy e-toll gantries aired on the public broadcaster.
The party had taken the SABC to the authorities saying it acted unlawfully by contravening the Regulations on Party Election Broadcasts after the SABC had refused to air the broadcast saying it had purported lawlessness.
But the SABC won. The broadcast, which was loaded on Youtube, has garnered over 800 000 views.
Party spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has said they had struggled throughout their campaign and accused the ANC-led government of trying to stop the EFF from holding rallies by blocking stadium hire.
“We never got anything in any easy way. We were always met with resistance when we tried to attain venues for public gatherings.”
Speaking about their final campaign, he said: “It's going to be a final gathering which concludes a long election campaign... This rally will consolidate our confidence for victory in the elections,” said Ndlozi.
Malema will cast his ballot at a voting station in Zone 1, Seshego, his hometown.
Two weeks after the elections, the EFF will be the subject of an Oxford University African history and politics seminar, titled “The Chosen Ones”: The Economic Freedom Fighters and South Africa’s 2014 election”.