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Populist Vibes – ANC’s Panyaza Lesufi makes bold promises to woo Joburg crowds

Populist Vibes – ANC’s Panyaza Lesufi makes bold promises to woo Joburg crowds
Illustrative image | ANC Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

Electioneering or genuine redress? The ANC’s Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi is determined to retain power in the province and has promised to improve the living conditions of Johannesburg residents.

The Communal Hall in Orlando East hosted ANC supporters convening in their numbers at the weekend to be given their election instructions from party officials ranging from regional leadership, the provincial executive and members of the organisation’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula was at the gathering on Saturday afternoon alongside NEC member Zizi Kodwa.

The crowd, which included elderly and young people, filled the hall, singing the praises of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and cheering enthusiastically as they were addressed.

Panyaza Lesufi’s populist ‘toughness’ mirrors the rise of provincial disregard for ANC’s central power

Read more in Daily Maverick: Panyaza Lesufi’s populist ‘toughness’ mirrors the rise of provincial disregard for ANC’s central power

ANC Gauteng chair Panyaza Lesufi had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he chanted election slogans and made promises to create jobs, end power cuts in Soweto and award bursaries to matriculants who had performed exceptionally well.

In particular, he spoke about the 35,000 young people who had been hired by the national government as teacher assistants at schools during the height of Covid-19, whose contracts ended in October 2023. 

“The first one, as the Gauteng provincial government from the 1st February, we will start to employ people so that we do not have young people that are unemployed in our province. There are 35,000 young people who are employed to take care of our children in our schools.

“They were employed by the national government and their contracts came to an end in October and the national government has not renewed their contracts. We are saying to the 35 000 young people in Gauteng on the 1st February to go back to our schools, we are taking care of you as Gauteng,” he said. 

In a counter to former party president Jacob Zuma’s attempt to lure Umkhonto weSizwe veterans through his newly established party, Lesufi promised them an opportunity to be trained so that they could assist in fighting crime in the province.

“We want to declare from 1 March, we need veterans of MK and other military organisations. We need 3,000 of you to come and join the government and fight crime. All combatants of MK do not go to that side. Come to this side we want to take you to training to fight crime in Gauteng,’ he said.

Lesufi announced that the Gauteng government would start an initiative to install transformers in Soweto, to assist with a spate of power failures in the area.

“We know Eskom was an opposition political party in Soweto, I want to declare to you that all transformers that were not working in Soweto, the government that I have the honour to lead, we got 2,500 transformers and we are going to install all these transformers,” he said.

Late last year, Lesufi held a meeting with Soweto residents about the constant power cuts.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Please hear us’ – Soweto residents urge Lesufi amid ongoing electricity crisis

At the time, Lesufi promised that more than 500 transformers would be replaced across the province, adding that the Gauteng provincial government had set aside R1.2-billion to replace transformers.

He assured top matriculants at all schools in Gauteng that their further studies would be funded by the Gauteng government.  

“I want to declare to you that the government believes in education. For the first time in the history of education in the province, almost all our district offices, eight out of ten matriculants in Gauteng have passed with bachelor passes. We are saying every child that is number one, two or three in every school in Gauteng, the Gauteng government is offering a bursary until you finish your studies. This is how we fight poverty,” he said.

Panyaza Lesufi adamant Gauteng ANC will do all it can to keep DA out of power

ANC Johannesburg regional chair Dada Morero told the crowd the party had already claimed victory for the governing party in Soweto.

He said the National Executive Committee had declared 2024 as “the year of united action to defend our freedom and advance a better life for all. Forward to a decisive victory.

“The ANC is bringing back the message that binds us with the poor people of South Africa, that the struggle to create a better life is on track and we shall not be distracted by those who hate South Africa and its people. My task today was one and only one — to welcome all of you to Soweto, to Johannesburg. We are going to win elections in Soweto, it accounts for two million people and we will win elections here,” he said.

In 2019, the ANC managed to garner only 50.19% of the vote in Gauteng, placing it in a precarious position for the upcoming elections.

Its electoral success may also be threatened by the entry of new political parties which have gained popularity in Gauteng.

In Johannesburg, the ANC managed 52.3% in the 2014 national elections, which declined to 49.6% in the 2019 national poll. DM


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  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    It is commendable that Lesufi’s government wants to fund the further studies of top matriculants (provided that it really happens and is not just an empty promise) and that his government believes in education. But that unfortunately is effectively negated by the hundreds of thousands of children that emerges from the education system unable to find work, because they passed with less than 40% on average. I mean, it is fine to support the top students; but what do they do to support all those whose points are so low that they effectively have not mastered the subjects? And what about the school dropouts in the earlier grades? How are they supported? It is time that the education system forces all children to be in school UNTIL they have passed matric, and that the 50% pass criterium is brought back. That the government does not want to do that, shows that the ANC does not believe in the abilities of our children.

    • Hidden Name says:

      Never mind all that – where is the money going to come from? Tax revenue has limits, and tax payers are already stretched thin…so who is going to cough up for all these promises? I can pretty much guarantee there is not enough to cover all this and the absolutely critical water infrastructure maintenance and repair…lest we have more outbreaks of nasty preventable diseases thanks once again to epic ANC incompetance.

    • Arthur Lilford says:

      It is great to see the ANC squabbling amongst themselves to see who gets to the feeding trough first – at the expense of the same voters that put them there – you get what you vote for !!!

  • Francoise Phillips says:

    Voters must ask the ANC why it has not done what it keeps promising them? What besides criminal corruption and robbing the people has the ANC done to deliver services and better living conditions? The ANC lies to voters and then robs them into poverty and suffering.

    • John Smythe says:

      The voters ask…? They haven’t asked in 30 years. What’s going to make them ask now? There would have been a revolution is any other country. But SA’s just keep taking it on the chin and then die with no education, no housing, no jobs, no health, and no dignity.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Just another popgun populist with no clue whatsoever about actual proper governance and creating the environment where businesses thrive and create jobs. Where is all this money coming from? Expect your infrastructure to decline even further under this useless man.

  • Reinier Breytenbach says:

    Cometh the hour, cometh the delusional clown…

  • Ella de Beer says:

    Ha, ha, ha!!! Again with the promises. I only wonder how many food parcels and free drinks were available at this meeting? Makes me want to throw up. Honestly, what a bunch of bull twang. Improving the lives and keeping the power on. Ya, at what cost, billions in diesel fuel again? Ugh.

  • Wayne Habig says:

    Queenin Masuabi – you ask a very serious question at the start of your article and then go on to craft an epic “he said” propoganda piece for the ANC without ever really contrasting what the ANC has achieved, while in power to make change, vs what they are promising now in election season. Iow incorporating the facts.
    Journalism – look it up.

  • … and the bad news…. these poor young people actually believe what this idiot is waffling…

  • Rofhiwa Mudau says:


    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      How are your basic services looking? Have power do you? Clean water? Pothole free roads? Waste collection?

      …it’s so nice to see rationality prevails and our people aren’t fooled into voting on racial lines and empty promises.

  • Bill Nash says:

    Here we go again, more promises as elections loom.
    Johannesburg has NEVER been such a mess, from sewage, to power, to water, to broken roads and traffic lights and yet we heap promises on promises!
    Sadly, as always, many will “buy in”, desperate to believe things will change for the better.
    Let 30 years speak, look around you and then decide.

  • Bryan Macpherson says:

    When an ANC politician’s lips move – you know they are lying.

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    Anc has so many con artists, sad that their members fall for it each time. He is another lose cannon of hot air.

  • dbanks976 says:

    Bring back trade schools for artisans. Not every person is an academic. Build more schools instead of pushing these learners into universities with no prospect of finding employment.
    Walk the talk and stop making empty promises, honourable politicians.

  • Hedley Davidson says:

    It is beyond belief that after driving the country towards and then over the cliff for the past thirty years ,infrastructure in Gauteng and country wide falling apart , with water outages weekly in our suburb that a failed administration can even contemplate competing in an election , they should have resigned years ago , hanging their heads in shame rather that bring out the bag of empty promises targeting the youth and the poor. There is conclusive proof of lack of ability to build , grow , develop, administer , plan – Failed healthcare , education , policing , infrastructure , sewerage , water , electricity can not be hidden behind slogans like apartheid but fall squarely in the home of gross incompetence. Any party needs competent and experienced people that are held accountable and fired if they cannot perform and definitely must be jailed if they steal public funds for self enrichment . To promote incompetent people under the banner of transformation does not transform anything , but just allows an old infant to strut around thinking ” I have made it ” , but yet remains an empty vessel that could never be employed in any organisation based purely on merit.

  • Pamela Lindner says:

    Always promises promises before an election. Why don’t the voters wake up. A tshirt and a bag of food every five years??? And the same promises unfulfilled

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “Panyaza Lesufi adamant Gauteng ANC will do all it can to keep DA out of power”

    Yes, I have no doubt; including lying shamelessly.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    There you go! The lunacy of electioneering underway as Lesufi trumpets forth on a raft of PROMISES….none of which will actually be achieved. And to cap it all, the nodding heads actually believe all the BS! Pathetic beyond comprehension.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    None of these comments come from Sowetans. I would really like to know what Sowetan’s think. Any chance DM?

  • James Francis says:

    An entire article, but not one mention that the ANC is already in charge of the city through its puppet mayor. No pushing back with the fact that the city is in ruins because of the ANC. I’m glad I’ve cancelled my Insider support – the above is not the kind of news we need all South Africans to see.

    • Joe Irwin says:

      I have to agree with you. This is a “support Panyaza Lesufi” article. I recently increased my monthly DM subscription, but if this becomes the typical quality of objective journalism we are to receive, then I may remove it completely.

  • Basil Skopelitis says:

    Lesufi promises renewal? Who destroyed it in the first place? If you cannot look after something that was perfectly functional then begs the question how will you fix it, this soft approach by journalists is as much the problem as the morally corrupt politicians. The ANC has been making the same promises since 1994 what have they achieved? Johannesburg is a cesspool of decay not unlike the rest of South Africa

  • Rae Earl says:

    This man talks absolute rubbish. Where will he find the money to fund all these pie-in-the-sky projects? His recent comment that he will scrap all the unpaid accounts due to Eskom is massively stupid. Take Eskom’s income away in this manner and then watch what stage 10 to 16 looks like in Soweto. The ANC has been making promises for years without ever achieving anything other than lowering standards in every day living. Lasufi is simply spouting vote-buying talk. He will never deliver.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Who said you can’t buy an election?

  • Just Me says:

    The ANC only has false promises, that it never intends to keep. You know it’s closer to election time when the ANC lies and promises get bolder and T-shirts and bribe packs are handed out to woo the ignorant crowds.

  • George 007 says:

    Ms. Masuabi, in reading this piece I was surprised you did not interview any of the people in the audience. There were apparently thousands of them. Would it be so hard to walk into the crowd and talk to the people and get their thoughts on what the ANC speakers just said and who they plan to vote for?

  • bauerj says:

    Promises, promises. Always the same around election time. If they could do it, they would have done it by now. Empty promises to keep the masses voting for them. Perhaps one day they will ask , “when?” , instead of just accepting the promises at face value.

  • Kb1066 . says:

    The biggest issue here is that the ANC is using tax payer money to promote promises that it will not be followed up on, the next step will be tenders from which funds will flow back to the party.

  • Andre Tait says:

    Its like we all live in some alternate reality. The ANC don’t seem to realize that they are in power already and have been for 30 years. They make election promises about things they will do when elected. THEY ARE ALREADY ELECTED. DO IT NOW. I hear this all the time. Vote for us and we will fix crime or electricity or potholes or whatever. Are the voters really this stupid as well? Its like having friends stand outide your front door and telling them through the door that they need to knick if they want you to let them in. Mental!

  • Bill Nash says:

    I my well be wrong, in which case I apologise but this piece reads like a PR Blurb for the ANC election manifesto.
    Sorry Queenin….. Too long on “He said” and too short on actual facts in my humble opinion.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Now where have we heard these promises before? Oh yes, when he made them before the last elections. And if the voters are too stupid to see that, and indeed to cheer him on, then they must live with the consequences.

    • David Mitchley says:

      Only problem is those of us who do see through their idiotic promises are forced to life with the consequences as well.

      • Iam Fedup says:

        Which is why, Mr. Mitchley, I pay as little tax as possible, and why my family is moving to another clean and moral country. I hate who I’ve become, and sit with a terrible dilemma of loving my country but utterly detesting the government of power-hungry thieves and prostitutes.

        • Patterson Alan John says:

          In late 1993, after living in Umtata for 3.5yrs, we saw the future of South Africa clearly.
          Unemployment, useless Police, blue light brigade of Major General Bantu Holomisa, corruption, useless public servants, collapsed hospitals, crumbling roads, misuse of public funds and the rest. You cannot fart against thunder!
          Today, we have re-established ourselves overseas in Australia, bought a home and enjoy all the functioning environments that our taxes pay for. Life could not be better.
          What is load shedding? No water in the taps? Potholes in the road? No water in the hospital?
          Staying in SA will serve no positive purpose, but drive you into poverty and live every day loaded with tension and fear for the future, which will only get worse.
          Reality bites!
          Charity starts at home and the welfare of you and your family is priority N0.1.
          Procrastination is the thief of time, so decide and act now!
          Come on over – the lifestyle is wonderfult!

  • Tom Sel says:

    It is sad that there are still people who vote for the ANC on the basis of empty promises. Its supporters, followers and loyalists need to wake up and realize that their beloved ANC has let them down and made the country worse off over the last 30 years.
    Cracks are appearing everywhere: electricity, water, crime, unemployment, poverty, etc. are spiraling out of control and everything points to the ANC government as the main culprit.

    Start taking note of what other political parties have to offer and stop believing, supporting, being loyal to and voting for the ANC because it has failed you and the country and will continue to do so with its current leadership.

  • Andrew Gunn says:

    Promises, promises, the only thing the ANC can deliver!

  • Robin Kemp says:

    The sad thing is – there are actually people who believe this stuff !

  • Gerrit Steyn says:

    This is one thing the ANC are absolute masters of: making the most beautiful and inspiring promises. And the poor gullibles swallow everything, every time.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    What the ANC promise and what they actually do is poles apart. They keep making empty promises while the infrastructure falls apart and people suffer. They have being doing this for many years now and still some people believe them and vote for them

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    The comments system is a mess. I have had two disappear entirely today.

  • Lesufi,at some time,completed 4% only of his grand plans.

  • Alan Watkins says:

    Sounds amazing. Got to sell my home in Cape Town and move to nirvana. Wait a moment, the ANC has been in power in the province since forever. Why havent they done any of that up till now?

  • Alan Watkins says:

    The comments to all of this were the equivalent of Lesufi being laughed off the stage, out of the room, down the road, and out of the province. I wish all the comments indicated in what provinces each of them lived.

  • PETER BAKER says:

    Hopefully the SA electorate will smell the stink in Lesufi’s utterances……promises are something for the future which we must not be fooled by. The cANCer Party has made promises of those over the decades and kept none. Performance is the ACTION in the past; what has been actually accomplished. Here the cANCer Party has failed the entire country. The idiots have even bankrupted their own party let alone the country. No Lesufi Bro….it is time for you and the rest of the ANC to simply disappear from the stage so that real South Africans can take over and rebuild and replace what you have broken and stolen.

  • He brags about the 35000 they employed at schools.That was a scam .I know kids who were employed .All they did was sit in the halls and passages and play on their cellphones contributing nothing. Just window dressing at the cost of the tax payer

  • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

    Where exactly is Lesufi promising to transform Joburg? Soweto is only one area of the city. What about the rest of the crumbling, lawless, waterless, powerless city?

  • PJ R says:

    Train MK combatants? I dare Pany to tell an MK Vet that they need training (to their face ).

  • Mendo Gampu says:

    Premier I am warning you stop making myriad of colorful promises, first things first

  • T'Plana Hath says:

    Just another tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  • thandi.selani says:

    My mother has been with out electricity for more than months i have raised this with Panyaza and he failed to even respond to the email sent ,the residents of Zola Soweto even met with him gave them countless promises and to date no resolution They even have paid the required R500.00 per household but the electricity is still not restored . These are just promises by the ANC that will not be fulfilled yet again

  • Henry Coppens says:

    In communism, to try to keep the masses with you it is necessary to always lie, lie, lie with vain promise after promise. This practice goes right back to Lenin and Stalin. Words like honesty, delivery, credibility, merit, performance are not in the the ANC vocabulary.

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