Polokwane – It's a big day for the ANC as the party officially celebrates 110 years since it was established on January 8, 1912.
The party's birthday's rally is being held at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium with President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the National Executive Statement (also known as the January 8 statement) which are marching orders for the year ahead.
The first January 8 statement was delivered in 1972.
Ramaphosa delivered his first January 8 statement as ANC President in 2018 shortly after being elected into the position at the party's national elective conference in Nasrec a month earlier.
But the party has this week gone to great lengths to ensure that it hosts its celebrations successfully despite some disruptions that unfolded in the build-up to the rally.
On Thursday Ramaphosa was forced to walk out of the venue where he was scheduled to deliver the Lilian Ngoyi memorial lecture.
The event was organised by the ANC Women’s League.
On Friday afternoon, disruptions also took place ahead of his Peter Mokaba Memorial Lecture after some ANC Youth League members argued over access tags, saying they were issued to certain factions, prompting Ramaphosa to deliver the lecture outside the Jack Botes Hall amid heavy security.
And then, on Friday night there was a 15-minute blackout as Ramaphosa was about to wrap us his speech at the party's presidential gala dinner hosted at the Protea Hotel Ranch Resort in Polokwane.
The senior leadership has, however, downplayed the events as merely isolated incidents, while others believe the party's efforts to host successful events were being sabotaged.
More so, security is expected to be increased again at Saturday's rally.
Meanwhile, at the gala dinner, Ramaphosa said the ANC was growing stronger and working on renewing its structures.
Video: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
“The ANC is very much alive and it leads. We must be clear that to do a good job as a government party we must focus all our efforts in rebuilding and strengthening the ANC. The ruling party is decided and affects South Africans. A thorough renewal is needed,” he said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said: "As we prepare to celebrate our anniversary, we also want to convey our congratulatory messages and gratitude to the founding fathers and mothers, members, supporters, voters and volunteers of our glorious movement for contributing to the sustenance and remarkable growth and development of this revolutionary giant over 110 years."
The 110th anniversary celebration will be live-streamed across all social media platforms, with the official programme expected to kick off at 11.30am.
President Ramaphosa is set to deliver his statement at 1pm.