ANC supporters are seen among statues of the party’s leaders that have been erected as part of the ANC Election manifesto launch in Durban. Picture: Kim Ludbrook /EPA-EFE/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - The ANC has banned its supporters from wearing divisive and insulting party T-shirts at today’s manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

“T-shirts which seek to defocus us from the agenda of winning elections on a landslide are not welcomed and our marshals and security will not hesitate to act on those individuals,” party secretary-general Ace Magashule warned.

Magashule said those who came with unwelcome regalia would be admonished and “treated as enemies”.

He issued the stern warning during a press briefing about the party’s state of readiness and election manifesto to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa to thousands of party supporters and international representatives.

Magashule said once the 85 000 capacity stadium was full, other spectators would watch the event from large TV screens to be mounted at two overflow venues nearby.

“None of the members of the ANC must come to conduct themselves in a manner not befitting to conference resolution of the ANC.

“In Nasrec (party 2017 conference) we had made it clear that we are working toward the unity of the ANC.

“We need T-shirts that are not divisive and that do not promote any faction or individuals and T-shirts that respect the ANC.”

He insisted, however, that T-shirts bearing the faces of former party presidents or those written “vote ANC” would be welcomed as well as those of alliance members, Cosatu, Sanco and the SACP.

Magashule did not give a clear description of what he termed “divisive T-shirts”. Before and after the Nasrec conference, members belonging to certain factions within the party wore T-shirts with NDZ12 and CR17 to express support for Ramaphosa and party presidential candidate at the time, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Not only will the ANC keep a close eye on unruly members, but there Magashule said there would also be surveillance of opposition party members as they are “not welcome” to the manifesto launch.

Today’s proceedings will be attended by representatives from the Southern African Development Community. Other political parties from the continent who will grace the event include Swapo from Namibia and Zanu-PF from Zimbabwe.

Magashule said former president Thabo Mbeki, who was invited alongside Jacob Zuma, indicated he would not come due to prior engagements.

“Comrade Thabo Mbeki has been engaging with the president throughout the year and I can tell you that their relations are okay and in good shape,” said Magashule.

Magashule also warned that firearms and other dangerous weapons would be prohibited inside the stadium.

* Follow the #ANC107 manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban here.