Three major political parties will launch their manifestos at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium from next month, in anticipation of a hotly contested national general elections especially in KwaZulu-Natal.
The EFF will hold their launch on February 10, followed by the ANC on February 24 and the IFP on March 10.
All three parties have promised to fill up the stadium in a show of strength as the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has suggested May 22 as a possible election date.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will officially promulgate the election date after discussions with the electoral body and by law he can announce a date between May and August.
The ANC in KZN on Monday said that it was expecting to easily fill the stadium and was also considering an alternative stadium to accommodate the overflow of supporters.
Spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said they were expecting 70 000 supporters at the main stadium, with the event to be addressed by ANC president Ramaphosa.
“Moses Mabhida stadium is too small because it can accommodate 70 000 people (seated and standing) and we are looking at another stadium where others can watch the manifesto launch on big screens.”
Mndebele said the party was dealing with the logistics of such an undertaking and the national executive committee would reveal more details closer to the event.
“The majority of those attending will be ANC members and those active in communities.
“We are expecting those who are registered to vote to attend and we will also assist those who have not yet registered.
These are people who are our volunteers who will canvass for votes ahead of the elections,” Mndebele said.
EFF provincial leader Mongezi Twala had said that the party planned to ensure that Moses Mabhida was filled to capacity and the majority of those attending the manifesto launch, which will be delivered by party leader Julius Malema, will be party volunteers who will canvass for votes.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh, who is part of the task team responsible for logistics surrounding the manifesto launch, said they were told that the stadium could safely accommodate 60 000 people.
“We are working on all aspects of the manifesto launch, from security to mobilisation,” Singh said.
“We have invited IFP members and non-party members, including the business sector as we think they will have an interest in the manifesto,” he said.
The party president Velenkosini Hlabisa will deliver the manifesto.
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said that it was not surprising that three major parties were launching their manifestos in KZN as the province was important for all parties.
“This is the biggest province for the ANC and everyone wants a victory in KZN, including the ANC who want to consolidate their power. The intention of filling up the stadium is understandable as it sends a message that the parties have appeal but it also represents false hope because a full stadium does not guarantee votes.”
Mngomezulu said people go to rallies for different reasons and attendance does not guarantee a vote.
“All three parties had plans for the province but the emergence of the MK Party will play a disruptive role in these plans.”
Another analyst Zakhele Ndlovu from the University of KwaZulu-Natal said the manifesto launches were taking place in the province as parties felt it “was up for grabs”.
“The IFP has done well in the previous local government elections and wants to carry this momentum into the national elections. It believes it can secure victory through a coalition government with the DA and other smaller parties.”
Ndlovu said the EFF is also hoping to grow its support in KZN.
“For some time there has been a perception that the EFF did not do well in KZN and the party wants to change that perception – that is the reason the party’s deputy Floyd Shivambu has been sent to the province to manage the election campaign.
“The formation of the MK Party will split the ANC vote and the opposition parties feel this is the right moment to take on the party, especially in KZN.”