Durban — The ANC believes that the disbursement of social grants to 28 million people will work in its favour in next year’s general elections.
Speaking on a by-election campaign trail in Chatsworth south-west of Durban on Sunday, party and state president Cyril Ramaphosa listed the provision of social security and the school nutrition programme as two of the party’s greatest achievements, arguing that it was only in South Africa where a government was making sure that 28 million people went to bed with full stomachs.
The president welcomed more than 100 DA members who had joined the ANC, together with former DA ward 73 councillor Devaraj Ronnie Pillay who resigned in March to join the ANC.
The by-election will be held on Wednesday next week. The ANC has fielded Pillay as its candidate for the ward.
Accompanied by other ANC big guns – including Human Settlement Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, NEC member Mdumiseni Ntuli and the provincial leadership – Ramaphosa said welcoming more than 100 DA members to the ANC was a highlight of his visit to the province. He said the party was going to win the ward and begged Chatsworth to rally behind Pillay.
“There is no government that is looking after 28 million people on this continent except the ANC. It never happened before 1994 and today we have 18 million people who receive social grants and we have added another 10 million through social relief grants so it shows that only the ANC cares for the people,” said the president.
Pillay told Daily News after the event that he would revive the ANC in Chatsworth by winning the ward. He said the people of his ward trusted him and fully understood that it was he who had delivered the services to them, not the DA. He argued that many people had followed him years back when he left the Minority Front and joined the DA, adding that he was glad that even when he left the DA the people of the ward still followed him.
“I have no doubt that I will retain the ward under the ANC. I am glad with the support I received from the president and his National Executive Committee team,” said Pillay.
Pillay said he had to leave the DA after the party leadership failed to act against corruption, which was dismissed by party provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson, who said Pillay had never submitted any evidence of corruption except making unsubstantiated allegations.
DA deputy provincial leader Sithembiso Ngema said Pillay and the ANC were fooling themselves by thinking that they would win the ward, adding that the DA had done enough to ensure that the DA would retain the ward. The party has fielded Daniel Mea to run against its former councillor.
Should the ANC win the ward, it would be the only ward under its control in Chatsworth after the DA made a clean sweep in the 2021 local government elections, winning all five wards in predominantly Indian communities.
With the IFP posing a big threat to the ANC’s control of the province ahead of next year’s polls, the party’s big guns, led by the president, descended on the province on Thursday and visited all 12 regions, interacting with the people.
The ANC presented 10 cattle to King Misuzulu during a visit by party secretary-general Fikile Mbalula.
The president will wrap up his visit by holding a media briefing on Tuesday to share his assessment of the party’s support in the province.
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