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Logistics matter: ANC pulled out all the stops at packed Durban manifesto launch

Logistics matter: ANC pulled out all the stops at packed Durban manifesto launch
Supporters wave flags at the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Busloads of ANC supporters began streaming into Durban from Friday night, ferrying thousands of people to the launch of the party’s election manifesto.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) pulled out all the stops to fill Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium and paint the coastal city black, green and gold when it launched its 2024 general election manifesto on Saturday.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC manifesto promises ‘prescribed assets’, NHI in five years, 3.5m new state job opportunities

anc election manifesto mashatile

Deputy president of the ANC Paul Mashatile during the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

anc election manifesto mokonyane mbalula

ANC First Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane and ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula at the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

This was the ANC’s answer to critics who said the party — which has been cruising from one election victory to another for the past 30 years —  will lose its majority in the upcoming elections.

Supporters came from the length and breadth of South Africa.

Supporters at the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

anc election manifesto

President of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Buses began streaming into Durban from Friday night, ferrying many thousands of people.

Ahead of the manifesto launch, ANC leaders, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, campaigned across the province. In some places, they were confronted by members of the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party, which has been endorsed by former president Jacob Zuma.

anc election manifesto Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma addresses supporters of the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party on 7 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie)

The leaders entered the stadium on Saturday to huge applause from the large crowd.

In a clear reference to Zuma and the MK party, Ramaphosa said troublemakers had left the ANC, allowing the party to renew itself and reset, and it would now be able to make a social compact against crime and corruption.

“Our country has come a long way. We have made incredible strides and achieved so much. However, even after 30 years of freedom and democracy our journey towards creating the South Africa that our people truly desire is far from over. We still have many more hills to climb,” Ramaphosa said.

“In the 2024 elections, we will go beyond celebrating accomplishments and focus on the future. We will focus on six priorities which are critical to transform the economy:

  • Our jobs plan;
  • Building our industries to include an inclusive economy;
  • Tackling the high cost of living;
  • Investing in people;
  • Defending democracy and advancing freedom; and
  • Building a better Africa and world.”

He said people must give the ANC another mandate to correct the mistakes it had committed.

He promised that more than 2.5 million jobs would be created, social grants and other poverty relief programmes would be continued, health services would be improved and further jobs would be created through the re-industrialisation of the economy.

“This includes increasing support for small enterprises, entrepreneurs and cooperatives, especially in townships and villages, and providing an additional one million work opportunities.

“We will increase support for small enterprises, entrepreneurs and cooperatives, especially in townships and villages through our public procurement programmes with set-asides for women and youth, and our small business support programmes so that these businesses can provide one million work opportunities.”

The KZN branch of the ANC, which hosted the event, said more than 200,000 people descended on the city and the launch had been “a resounding success”.

anc election manifesto

ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo at the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

ANC KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said, “As we go to seek another mandate to govern, we know exactly what the ANC will offer to the people of this country and KZN in particular.”

ANC alliance partners were at the stadium in full force. Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi told journalists that she was concerned that the MK party was encroaching on ANC programmes and those of its alliance partners in KZN. She said the KZN wing of the South African Democratic Teachers Union had complained that MK leaders and supporters had threatened its leaders and members with violence.

‘Taking aim at the king? Don’t miss’

Sara Mojela, a member of the ANC Women’s League regional executive in Limpopo, said she had come to give support to her party and its leaders.

“Look around… the whole world is here. This clearly shows that the ANC is going to come back with a bigger majority. To all the opposition parties out there, if they aim at the king, the ANC, they must not miss. The ANC is a powerhouse that has its own challenges, but is still stronger than any other political party in South Africa,” she said.

anc election manifesto mk

MK veterans attend the African National Congress election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 24 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Nkosinathi Puka, who was a member of Umkhonto WeSizwe’s Iron Platoon unit,  said he and other members of the unit were there to show that “real members of MK” are still with the ANC.

“I don’t want to talk about other political parties. I want to talk about the ANC. As we are here, we are demonstrating that we have not left the organisation of OR Tambo,” he said.

Zakhele Ndlovu, a political analyst and senior politics lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said, “The huge crowds show that the ANC is still a force to be reckoned with, and is still able to mobilise its vast resources and structures to bring out crowds when necessary.”

He said that while the ANC might get below 50% in the general election, it would still govern “with the help of one or the other of the smaller parties.

“In KZN and Gauteng it will lose support and those two provinces will emerge with coalition governments. But in the other provinces, the ANC will still do very well. The ANC is slowly becoming a party that is popular in rural areas, but losing support in the urban areas.

“But all of this will be clear on the day of the elections when people go out to actually vote. Filling the stadium is one thing and getting votes is another. There are many people, especially in rural areas, who will not miss an opportunity to come to Durban for free at the expense of the ANC.

“Some of the people who were at the launch were teenagers and young, unemployed youth who are not registered to vote and if they are, it is not certain that they will vote for the ANC,” he said. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Lyle Ferrett says:

    You will never see a South African flag being waved at an ANC-rally.

    What do you think that says about the ANC?

  • Lil Mars says:

    ANC seems to have money to burn. No expense spared on this gathering.

  • JOHANN SCHOLTZ says:

    Nice ANC puff piece

  • JOHANN SCHOLTZ says:

    DM never misses an opportunity to take a swipe at the DA and here it publishes something that reads like something from the ANCs monthly newsletter. Yet the pages of DM are flooded with opeds bemoaning the state of our country?

  • Francois Smith says:

    The key issues will be, mr Ramaphosa, on how you deal with losing Gauteng and KZN, especially the latter and how the coalitions formed there, will influence your national coalition. If you think that you, and your sixth administratuion, have done something good enough since the municipal election to turn from below 50 to more than 66,7% of the votes, you are mistaken.
    Also, the gravest mistakes of the ANC, that you want to have the chance to correct, happened when you were either the deputy president or the president and you are the only clever member left in the ANC. Thus, no, I think you had enough chance and goodwill. You blew it in applying the principle: ANC before South Africa. SBTW, mr Ramaphosa, this principle, is 180 degrees out of line with your oath of office.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Please send your account to the Iranian Embassy.

    • Michael Thomlinson says:

      Or to one of Putin’s oligarçhs. This is how the ANC runs an election campaign. It is more about logistics than anything else: Get thousands of T shirts to “supporters”, then bus them and then supply them with a chicken meal. And hey presto you have your stadium full of supporters.

  • John P says:

    So to fill the stadium they had to bus in people countrywide at the ANC’s expense. How many of those were even genuine ANC voters?

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Chris writing clearly on behalf of the ANC…..who too paid for the launch

    • Campbell Tyler says:

      Geoff surely you can distinguish between a party piece and a bit of objective reporting. I want to know what was said at this launch, how many people were there, and yes, whether they were all given KFC. I found it very informative, and dont worry, it didnt persuade me to vote ANC at the next election.

  • drew barrimore says:

    So DM now blatantly enables this corrupt party to continue with the likes of the ANC author of this drivel given prominence. All in the name of ‘objective journalism’ and ‘all sides of the story’ I’m sure. But there is only one story. The ANC’s destruction of RSA. Its drum majorettes like Chris Makhaye roam free to spout.

    • Campbell Tyler says:

      Drew, I made the same comment to Geoff above, please differentiate objective reporting from drum majorette ranting. I despair sometimes at the comments posted by various readers which tells me they have difficulty moving out of their echo chamber. Please be assured that reading Chris’ “drum majorette’ contribution has not in any way persuaded me to vote ANC at the next election. It has only reinforced my perception that the ANC is totally out of concrete ideas and is still trading empty promises. Thank you Chris for giving me that insight.

  • Random Comment says:

    My heart fills with despair for this country and its wretched politicians.

    Surely, after all the wars, fighting, deaths and suffering, we deserve better?

  • William Dryden says:

    The people didn’t come from far and wide to this fiasco, they were bussed in by their thousands by the ANC, plus given new colourful “T” shirts and a box of KFC to keep them happy.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Oh, the irony! So full of lies and platitudes. In the meantime, one of the bus loads of supporters crashed and led to the deaths of so many people. Oh, and a German tourist was murdered driving into SA from Botswana. nothing will change until all these dreadful gangster bozos are permanently disposed of “with extreme prejudice.”

  • David Jenkins says:

    Can’t help noticing a fairly constant pro ANC outlook from DM.

    How is DA snarled at in their piece (only province that has anything functioning) and somehow this dog show of a party gets this outlook? Perplexed.

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