ANC celebrates its 103 anniversary in Cape Town
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
Leading ANC figures reiterated their desire to reclaim the Western Cape at the ruling party’s 103rd anniversary celebration at a packed in Cape Town Stadium a the weekend.
The party lost the province to the DA in 2009 and has been unsuccessful in its attempt to win it back via democratic elections.
President Jacob Zuma was the ANC rally’s main speaker and surprisingly the event did not have a heavy focus on former president Nelson Mandela. The party had previously relied heavily on perpetuating its legacy on Mandela’s image.
Zuma offered a few contradictions in his speech too. This included first saying that the ANC is not corrupt and then later saying: “We did not say there is not corruption in the ANC”.
Zuma then urged South Africans not consume alcohol or drugs but later downed a glass of celebratory champagne.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa led the crowd with the Happy Birthday song and said they would donate their cake to three children’s homes in the city.
Entertainers included Cape minstrels whose umbrella body, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association, supports the ANC.
After Zuma’s lengthy speech, the party’s top six leaders and others danced on the stage before exiting the venue, leaving its members to party on.
On her way out of the stadium, human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the party “will make sure that we deliver” in the Western Cape.
“We as the ANC national executive took time to go around in the Western Cape to commit to people on the ground what it is what we are going to do,” she said.
Sisulu blamed the DA as the party’s “biggest problem… a bureaucracy that continues to perform in a particular way”.
“We have been insisting that we must change the government of the Western Cape so that everybody can be equal. This is what we fought for,” she said.
“Inequalities in the Western Cape continue. The underprivileged remain exactly where they were in 1994. It’s a shame.”
Sisulu said her department would next month take back full control of the N2 Gateway Housing project, a national pilot project to provide housing to township residents.
“In the past five years nothing has happened on the N2 project. National government will intervene. We have a bigger picture and the resources,” she said.
Troubled former police commissioner Bheki Cele, now the deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said his party already “rules the whole country”.
“We run the country. Western Cape is part of South Africa,” he said.
Thousands of the party’s supporters had traveled from across the country to attend the celebration.
Maxhobandile Tshabhe, 19, from George was among 40 young people from Thembalethe township who travelled to Cape Town for the rally.
“Our fathers were part of the ANC and we want to be part of it as well. The ANC supports us with many things. We live in a free country now. I’m still waiting to see more change,” said Tshabhe.
He said of the ANC’s critics: “When the car is going, the dog will bark. When people talk, I know we are going forward.”
Magdaleen Tani from small town Namakwaland in the Northern Cape said they left home at 9pm on Friday night and arrived in Cape Town for the rally yesterday at 8am.
Tani said she was an ANC member because the party “gave us electricity, water and toilets”.
One of the party’s oldest supporters, Pauline Taukobong, is 104 and traveled from Soweto. She is a year older than the party and was 17 when she joined the ANC.
“I feel great to be part of the ANC. I came to Cape Town and it was my first time on a plane. I can now rest in peace,” said Taukobong.
But not all those who came to the rally supported the ANC. Janine January from Woodlands, Mitchell’s Plain, said they were there only because they were “interested to hear what he (Zuma) had to say”.
“We heard on the radio he wants to get votes in the Western Cape. The ANC has a tough time in Mitchell’s Plain. People there don’t believe the ANC,” said January.
“It’s not about race. It’s about what politicians can do for people. The DA helps us, not the ANC.”
For the rest of the afternoon, vendors selling ANC branded T-shirts, caps and other items, as well as food were trading outside the stadium.
Sylvia Mahlangu travelled from Soweto to sell chicken, meat, pap and gravy at R40 a plate.