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ANC, DA and EFF share their final campaign messages ahead of 29 May poll

ANC, DA and EFF share their final campaign messages ahead of 29 May poll
EFF supporters during the Tshela Thupa Rally at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | ANC supporters during the final rally at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Reuters / Alaister Russell) | Supporters of the DA at their Rescue SA Rally at Willowmore Park Stadium in Benoni on 26 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

South Africa’s three largest political parties – the ANC, DA and EFF – used their final rallies over the weekend to reinforce their election messaging while poking holes in their competitors’ policies.

Over the weekend, South African political parties held their final rallies as a last-ditch effort to attract voters ahead of the provincial and national elections on Wednesday.

The ANC’s Siyanqoba rally, at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday, was meant to show the party’s strength and support ahead of the elections. 

Party president Cyril Ramaphosa’s overall message was largely pro-poor and pro-black as he advocated for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), promised to improve living conditions and assured attendees that youth unemployment would be addressed. He also defended the recent signing of the controversial National Health Insurance Bill. 

Statistics for the first quarter of 2024 show that 45.5% of South Africans aged 15-34 years are unemployed. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

Ramaphosa spoke about his experience on the campaign trail where he met many unemployed young people. 

“It was particularly painful to meet young people who are struggling to find employment. I was extremely touched by their determination to carry on even after being disappointed time and again. Our jobs plan aims to address their needs. For these young people, and for the many unemployed people in the country, we will create and sustain work opportunities delivering public goods and services in communities,” Ramaphosa said.

ANC supporters with a mock coffin at the Siyanqoba Rally at FNB Stadium on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

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ANC supporters at the party’s final rally at FNB Stadium on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

He threw jabs at the DA’s plan to scrap BEE in favour of a system based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by members of the United Nations. The DA’s model will reward businesses that contribute positively to the SDGs, thereby removing race as the only quantifiable category for redress and development.

“As we work to make our economy more inclusive, it is deeply disturbing that some parties want to scrap Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE). In one particular province, I heard from many African, coloured and Indian businesspeople how they are effectively shut out of access to contracts to provide any public or private service.

Cultural groups at the ANC’s Siyanqoba Rally held at FNB Stadium on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

“The ANC will continue to promote and monitor employment equity to ensure that black people, women and persons with disabilities are represented in all parts of the economy, in all industries, in all professions and in all institutions,” the President said. 

Ramaphosa went on to defend the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, saying that it did not alienate the private sector but rather sought to redress the uneven healthcare system. 

“It is unacceptable that some privileged members of our society want us to continue with a deeply uneven healthcare system that deprives the poor and vulnerable of the right to equal access to quality healthcare.

“It is equally wrong for them to claim that the NHI will mean the end of private healthcare. The NHI will harness the strengths of both the private and public health sectors to build a single, quality health system for all,” he said. 

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DA leader John Steenhuisen at the party’s Rescue SA Rally at Willowmore Park Stadium in Benoni on 26 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

DA’s final rally

The DA is one of the political parties which have explicitly spoken against the NHI Bill, a sentiment which was again raised by its leader, John Steenhuisen, on Sunday. 

The DA is seeking legal advice about the Act.

Speaking at the party’s final rally at the Willowmoore Stadium in Benoni, Steenhuisen said the signing of the Bill was part of the ANC’s “populist gimmicks” and an “assault on the aspirations of the South African people. 

“You see, unlike all other parties in this election, the DA doesn’t make promises about what we will do one day. We show you the evidence of what we are already doing — today. The DA did not appear out of nowhere to promise you the Sun, the Moon and sky.

“We don’t wait for elections to try and manipulate you with desperate stunts like the NHI. This scheme will not solve the ANC corruption and mismanagement that has destroyed public healthcare. Instead, it will expropriate medical aid from the millions of South Africans who despite the misrule of the ANC have worked hard to make it into the middle class since 1994,” he said.

Steenhusien’s message aimed at showing the ANC’s blunders while positioning the DA as a party that can rescue South Africa.

DA supporters at the party’s Rescue SA Rally at Willowmore Park Stadium in Benoni on 26 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

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Supporters of the DA at the rally at Willowmore Park Stadium on 26 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

He said the country’s challenges were created by “corrupt and selfish people, who betrayed our country, who used the corruption of BEE and cadre deployment to become billionaires while plunging 11 million people into unemployment and 30 million people into poverty. Who sat by and watched as our country was sold to the Guptas.

“Who hid undeclared dollars inside their couches, and then covered it up. But, if having the wrong people in positions of power is destroying South Africa, then electing the right people into government can rescue South Africa,” he said.

The DA leader warned against a “doomsday coalition” which he has often mentioned as a partnership between the ANC and EFF. However, this time he added former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party and Gayton McKenzie’s Patriotic Alliance as part of that coalition.

“If we sit back and allow a coalition between the ANC, the EFF and the MK party — aided by sell-outs like the Patriotic Alliance — our tomorrow will be far, far worse than our yesterday. The NHI will be implemented, property will be expropriated without compensation, corruption will engulf us, and the economy will collapse. It will be doomsday for South Africa,” he said.

EFF leader Julius Malema speaks during the ‘Tshela Thupa’ final rally at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko)

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EFF supporters hold up a mock coffin bearing the face of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa during the party’s final rally at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko)

EFF wants to govern

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed the party’s Tshela Thupa rally on Saturday in Polokwane.

Malema congratulated the provincial party leadership for organising a “successful rally” despite some seats on the north side of the Peter Mokaba Stadium being empty.

He said he was certain that he would be the president of South Africa after the elections, declaring he would not be involved in corruption when he was in power.

“I commit that when I am president and head of state of South Africa, I will not be involved in any form of wrongdoing and corruption. I will protect our national resources and I will grow our economy to create millions of jobs for all our people. I am not a sell-out. I have never sold any of my friends and comrades.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

“I commit to be loyal to the Constitution of South Africa and make sure the Constitution does not serve only those who are associated with white monopoly capital, comrades. I come to you with a formidable team of revolutionaries and professionals who are willing to change,” Malema said.

EFF supporters at the tally held at Peter Mokaba Stadium on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

EFF leader Julius Malema at the party’s final rally at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 25 May 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

The leader of the Red Berets intends to make his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, the finance minister if he becomes president.

“I bring to you the deputy president of the EFF who is ready to become the minister of finance in South Africa and take care of our people. I bring to you the premier of KwaZulu-Natal [EFF Secretary-General], Marshall Dlamini, who is ready to take care of that province,” Malema said.

Sixty-eight-year-old Godi Tsebe and his partner Rachel Mabaleng attended the rally. They said they voted for the ANC in 1994 but its failure to deliver services in their village had forced them to change their minds and vote for the EFF.

“Malema will make sure we get a tar road, water and high-mast lights,” Tsebe said.

“In 1994 we voted for the ANC and Mandela but after Mandela died those who were left were not doing things properly.” DM

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