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ANC campaigns in Gauteng while DA fights SABC

Gabi Falanga

Defections, censorship and exclusion marked the weekend's party election campaigns, with the ANC and DA fighting hard for Gauteng's support.

The Democratic Alliance protested at the University of Limpopo with Congress of the People members on Sunday over their exclusion from an SABC debate. (Johann Abrie, Facebook)

The ANC is happy with its weekend election campaigns that took place across Gauteng, despite reports that 66 ANC members in Hammanskraal defected to the National Freedom Party (NFP).

"We were well received everywhere in Gauteng, so we are quite happy," said ANC national spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu.

But Mthembu said he was not notified about the defection of any ANC members. "I'm not aware of it, but I wouldn't believe that ANC members would go to the NFP," he told the Mail & Guardian on Sunday.

With less than a month to go before elections, the ANC national executive committee and other national officials campaigned across Gauteng while, according to Mthembu, provincial leadership campaigned in the other provinces.

On Saturday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe addressed hundreds of ANC supporters in Eldorado Park, where he lashed out at the Democratic Alliance (DA), accusing them of reversing economic growth in the Western Cape.

Mantashe's planned door-to-door campaign in Ivory Park, east of Johannesburg, on Sunday was cancelled.

ANC head of communications Keith Khoza said the weekend's campaigns were fruitful. "We were received warmly by those communities. The interaction was quite fruitful in that it solicits public views about our manifesto, and it's a good opportunity for us to explain the manifesto to those who don't understand it."

ANC to target train commuters
The ANC's campaigns will continue on Monday morning, with ANC members targeting train commuters. 

Mantashe is expected to continue campaigning on a train with morning commuters from Oakmore to Park Station in Johannesburg. 

Jessie Duarte, Mantashe's deputy, who spent Sunday campaigning in Evaton, will travel by train from Vereeniging to Orange Farm, while ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize is likely to travel from Springs to Park Station. ANC national chairperson, Baleka Mbete will catch the train from Naledi to Doornfontein. 

NFP in Hammanskraal
The NFP did a door-to-door campaign in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, this weekend, where it is alleged that 66 ANC members defected to the party. 

The NFP's Gauteng chairperson, Bheki Gumbi, was pleased with the outcomes of the campaign. "We are happy that all sectors of the community welcomed us. We end[ed] our rally in Mandela [Stadium], where we welcomed 66 members led by women's league members from the ANC," he said.

DA campaigns nationwide
The DA were equally busy this weekend, with numerous campaigns taking place across the country.

On Saturday, DA leader Helen Zille and national spokesperson, Mmusi Maimane led a march through Zola in Soweto in response to the SABC's pulling of a DA election advert. Approximately 3 500 people attended the event. 

Meanwhile, the party protested with the Congress of the People on Sunday at the University of Limpopo over their exclusion from a land debate with the ruling party, Pan Africanist Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters and Freedom Front Plus, which was broadcast live on SABC. 

At the same time, in Upington in the Northern Cape, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, along with premier candidate Andrew Louw, held a "We can win" rally. 

"The rally went very well," DA media liaison told the M&G. "We are getting more supporters on a daily basis and we're positive that we can win the Northern Cape and Gauteng in the upcoming elections."

Zille, along with the provincial DA leader Athol Trollip and other parliamentary candidates, went door-to-door in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

While in Alexandra, Gauteng, Maimane visited people living in hostels.  "The living conditions are bad and the people are fed up," said Clark. "They are looking for a new political home." – Additional reporting by Sapa                              

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