Cape Town - AS ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte told several thousand people in Cape Town on Saturday that the party would definitely field Jacob Zuma as their presidential candidate in the fast-approaching elections, she also took a swipe at the DA, urging voters to “liberate” the Western Cape.
Praising the ANC government’s track record of 20 years of governance, Duarte urged voters to have “the courage to take the Western Cape out of the hands of minority rule”.
She and provincial ANC head Marius Fransman were the main speakers during an upbeat launch of the ANC’s Western Cape manifesto, in Delft on Saturday, where both had their sights set firmly on the DA.
While plenty of entertainment, from minstrels to hip hop and kwaito artists, kept the mood light, a potential drama was averted after a fence collapsed as marshals pushed back the crowds to make way for the first minstrel troupe to pass. Organisers said no one was injured in the incident.
Saturday’s event comes a week after the ANC launched its national election manifesto in Nelspruit. The Gauteng launch is set to take place today.
Fransman told the crowds the ANC would ensure that schools slated for closure here would remain open, that the ANC would address the issue of land in the hands of the “white elite”, and would fight for the rights of the residents of Blikkiesdorp, who he said had been forgotten by the DA.
Only an ANC victory in this province, he said, could reverse the DA’s “racist” policies which benefited only the rich.
“We have an army of volunteers to liberate the Western Cape,” Fransman told the crowds.
“When the ANC is divided, that leads to the downfall of progress.
We are calling on every comrade... we must put unity in front of all of us.”
Zuma may not have been present physically, but his face was everywhere – from a giant banner behind Fransman to the yellow T-shirts of many of the supporters.
Duarte, who followed Fransman, said the ANC had provided water, houses, electricity, schools and was building three new universities, but that its work was not yet done.
“We cannot afford to give South Africa to people who do not love the people,” she said in reference to the DA.
The DA won the Western Cape with 52 percent of the vote in the last national election, with the ANC capturing 31 percent.
Duarte was also clear on Zuma for president, saying she wanted everyone to “understand clearly” that the “president of the ANC is always the candidate of the ANC for the elections”.
Of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) there was just one mention on Saturday, when
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial convener Muhammad Khalid Sayed said league members were the “true economic freedom fighters”.
He also accused the EFF leaders of having “looted the coffers of the ANCYL”.
The ANC Women’s League, the MK Military Veterans Association and Cosatu gave short speeches.
Afterwards, leaders cut a cake decorated in the colours of the ANC flag, in celebration of its 102nd birthday.