An ANC supporter holds a flag of the ANC while the President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC Gauteng Cadre Assembly in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - Hundreds of academics and business people, TV personalities and celebrities gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre just a few days before the elections and endorsed the ANC.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and several national executive committee members attended the ANC Gauteng manifesto endorsement event last night.

President Jacob Zuma was initially supposed to attend the event, but reportedly pulled out at the last minute and Ramaphosa replaced him.

Mashatile thanked the business people for their support and urged them to vote for the ruling party.

He said a lot had been achieved over the past 20 years, but acknowledged that challenges still existed in the country.

“We want your vote for us to be able to move South Africa forward. We need you to hold our hand. We want to see you succeed in what you do.”

Mashatile said they needed partnerships with business organisations to ensure that “we build the economy fast”.

Mashatile added that the people running Gauteng were doing a good job.

“The only thing I must remind you is that you must pay businesses on time,” he said.

One after the other, business people went to the podium to endorse the ANC.

There was a special moment when musician Zwai Bala sang a song from a musical about life on Robben Island that he has worked on for the past five years.

“This is a time when Madiba was in solitary confinement,” Bala said.

One of the captains of industry who took to the podium, Chris van Biljon, said: “Don’t let television or newspapers tell you who to vote for. We need each other’s support.

“Let’s look at what the ANC has done in the past 20 years,” he said.

The Star