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Johannesburg - The battle for the right to rule South Africa has begun in earnest, with the country’s main political parties holding strategic meetings to plot a victory, or simply to unleash thousands of activists on their rivals.

The DA, ANC and Cope made their election plans and preparations clear at the weekend as they got ready to slug it out ahead of next year’s general election.

Door-to-door campaigns, the use of volunteers or activists and behind-the-scenes planning are just some of the parties’ strategies.

The official opposition launched its Blue Blitz campaign. It involves every DA branch, activist and public representative going on a door-to-door campaign to win the hearts and minds of voters during weekends.

Cope gathered in the Free State for a two-day election workshop attended by all the party’s MPs, MPLs, councillors and the Free State leadership.

Gauteng ANC leaders, led by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, reportedly went on a door-to-door campaign in the Midvaal in a bid to remove the DA from the helm of that municipality.

The ANC Women’s League held a national executive committee (NEC) meeting where its “election machinery” came under the spotlight.

DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said more than a million leaflets had been distributed across the country as part of the “Blue Blitz weekends”. “We have identified and trained 13 800 new activists and have spoken to hundreds of thousands of voters.

“We are preparing ourselves for next year’s election. We are signing up and training new DA activists to deliver our message on the ground,” he said.

Maimane and the head of the DA’s Emfuleni North constituency, Solly Nkhi, had led party activists on a door-to-door campaign at Evaton in the Vaal region.

ANCWL spokeswoman Troy Martens said yesterday that the league’s NEC had “focused in depth” on the upcoming elections.

“We are ready to release our immense election machinery to ensure the ANC maintains its overwhelming majority.

“As ANC Women’s League members, we are members of the ANC first and therefore these elections will be a priority of the ANCWL,” said Martens.

After its party forces met at the Maselspoort resort in the Free State, Cope chief whip Dennis Bloem said Cope would now meet and devise its election strategy at its NEC meeting next week.

DA Western Cape leader Ivan Meyer said the party had held its provincial election strategy aimed at retaining control of the province.

“Over 500 DA public representatives, key national and provincial leaders and campaign staff gathered at our election indaba in Cape Town to discuss our provincial election campaign strategy,” said Meyer.

The Star