President Cyril Ramaphosa takes a photograph with a young boy during a walkabout at the Forest Hill City shopping centre in Centurion. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The ANC rolled out its heavyweights over the weekend to urge citizens to register to vote for the governing party in the general elections next year.

On Sunday President Cyril Ramaphosa descended on Tshwane, whose council the ANC lost control of in the 2016 local government elections, while former president Jacob Zuma was in KwaMashu in his home province of Kwa­Zulu-Natal to call on locals to vote for the party.

Ramaphosa warned that the return of land to the majority of South Africans must not violate the rights of other people and the constitution.

In his address at the New Creation Covenant Church, the president said when the party was talking about the return of land to the people, everything had to be done legally and in an orderly way.

“We have got to do everything orderly in terms of our laws, in terms of our constitution, so that everybody’s rights are protected and advanced,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC recently backed the opposition EFF’s parliamentary motion of amending the constitution to enable the expropriation of land without compensation.

Ramaphosa said the call for the return of land would not be done to the detriment of economic growth and trampling on the rights of other South Africans.

“A new dawn for us must be that we do things the proper way, without any corruption, without violating the law and without violating the rights of other people - without doing anything that we will not want to be done to us.

“That is the new dawn,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the outcomes of the ANC’s 54th conference in December, during which it resolved on land expropriation without compensation, would aid changes to the country and correct the wrongs of the past.

“Things will start changing for the better. As we engage in this healing process, we must ensure that we adhere to ethical behaviour,” Ramaphosa said.

Meanwhile Zuma gave an assurance that his love for the ANC is far from over despite being forced by the organisation’s leadership to resign last month before the end of his term of office.

“We will be calling on the voters to vote for the ANC, and there is no doubt about it.

“For some of us our votes are not secret and are very open.

“I can vote even if you are looking at my ballot paper,” Zuma told journalists.

He spent the better part of Sunday pleading with prospective voters to go out and register.

Zuma and KwaZulu-Natal ANC co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala started the day by attending a two-hour church service at the KwaMashu Christian Centre, where Bishop Nicholas Mzimela called on about 1000 of his congregants to prepare themselves to “block DA from taking over the country”.

“No white party should rule this country,” he said.

Zuma told the congregants they should register even if they had not decided whether to vote or not, “because you might later decide that you want to vote for a certain party”.

“If you don’t register today you might not be able to vote after having made your decision,” he said.

Zuma said he had no doubt that during next year’s general elections, the ANC would emerge victorious in KZN.

“The ANC is big, the ANC has the support of the country. I know no other party that is supported like the ANC. I know no other party that is in every corner of the country except the ANC,” he said.

Political Bureau