Soccer players packed Wonderkop stadium to view soccer and netball kits UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had donated. Photo: ANA/Molaole Montsho

Marikana - Sport must be depoliticised, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said on Sunday.

"Sport must be depoliticised because people play [sport] and belong to different political parties. That is why today [Sunday] I did not have a political message. The focus was on sport and also to say let us build this tournament to be yearly," Holomisa said at an event in Wonderkop, Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West.

He was conducting a door-to-door campaign to charm voters ahead of the May 8 general election and also to donate kit for soccer and netball teams participating in a local sports tournament, the finals of which would be on April 13 and 14.

Holomisa said nothing had changed at the Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop. "I earlier on conducted a door-to-door campaign. I looked at the [living] conditions, there is no improvement. For now, we are here to donate the kit. We are looking forward to the 14th [April] for a [UDM] rally," he said.

The infamous Marikana koppie [hill] in Nkaneng is where 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police on August 16, 2012 during a violent wildcat strike by workers at Lonmin's platinum mine. Ten other people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the unrest during the preceding week.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wants politics kept out of sport. Video: ANA/Molaole Montsho

With the May 8 general elections rapidly approaching, political party leaders have been criss-crossing the North West in a drive to drum up support for their parties. The newly formed Women Forward (WF) party will launch their manifesto in Rustenburg on March 29, and the Economic Freedom Fighters will be in Lethabong in Rustenburg for their North West election manifesto launch.

The Democratic Alliance launched their North West manifesto on March 23 in Potchefstroom, while the African National Congress launched its manifesto in Rustenburg on March 2.

African News Agency (ANA)