Nelspruit : 310810 The 2010 Mobombela Stadium in Nelspruit. picture : neil baynes


Mbombela -

All Mpumalanga residents, irrespective of their political affiliations, have been asked to wear the ANC's colours while the party is in Mbombela this weekend to launch its national election manifesto.

The appeal was made by KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairman Senzo Mchunu, who was addressing locals at the Nelspruit taxi rank on Friday.

“Tomorrow we will be celebrating the African National Congress's 102-year existence. People within the province must do away with all other colours and be in the colours of the ANC throughout. You must do away with the blue colour and other colours,” said Mchunu, who is also the premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mpumalanga is a staunch ANC stronghold and the streets leading to the Mbombela Stadium, where the manifesto will be launched, are already aflutter in black, green and gold flags. Blue-light brigades are also whizzing around town.

Mchunu said the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal was not a big issue and of little interest to “ordinary people”.

Zuma's private home has had a facelift costing more than R200 million at taxpayers' expense.

“What we know is that people have their own personal interests that have nothing to do with the Nkandla issue... Ordinary people only worry about having access to housing, water and roads leading to their villages. They ask themselves, 'Do we have electricity where we live? Do my children have access to schooling?',” he said.

One “ordinary” person, Thulani Mkhonto, 37, from Kabokweni township, said he had hoped to get a free ANC T-shirt, but did not.

“I waited there to get a free ANC T-shirt, but I could not get one because they were choosy about who got them... we were burnt by the sun, waiting for nothing. It's okay, I will wait for an EFF T-shirt,” he said.

Gogo Nomakhaya Lubisi said she was angry when an instruction was given to close the doors to the truck containing the free T-shirts.

“They told us to queue for the ANC T-shirts but the T-shirts were only given to some people. While we were waiting, someone told the officials not to give us the T-shirts anymore,” said Lubisi.

Instead, the locals left Mchunu to go and watch a contortionist performing on the street.

The performer, Artigo Sumbane, 28, from KaNyamazane, said he started performing at the age of eight.

“I came to the taxi rank to entertain people and I did not realise that the ANC was also here. But I decided to entertain people because I am making a living from my performances,” said Sumbane. - Sapa