ANC spends R200-million on election campaign

The African National Congress (ANC) has spent no less than R200-million on its 2009 election campaign, the party said on Friday.

ANC national executive council member, Nomvula Mokonyane, said most of the money used in the campaign had been raised by the party, through selling paraphernalia for example, she said.

She was speaking at a briefing ahead of the party’s final election rally to be held on Sunday at Coca Cola Park and the Johannesburg Stadium.

The rally would “set a precedent” for large-scale events with 400 000 people in total expected to view the event at the two stadiums and via a live satellite link at stadiums in the eight other provinces.

“It has never been seen before… it’s beyond the razzmatazz,” said ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula.

ANC president Jacob Zuma would be speaking at the rally.

The Coca Cola Stadium, formerly Ellis Park, was abuzz with activity on Friday—the sprawling lawn was being doused with water and workers hauled in sound equipment.

The vastness of the venue was magnified by its emptiness ahead of Sunday’s event set to fill it to its capacity, with rows of empty red seats gleaming in the afternoon sun.

Major roadworks were in progress around the stadium, with the bus rapid transit link under construction along Saratoga Avenue.

Residents in Bertrams, a tiny suburb flanking the Johannesburg stadium, stood outside their homes, excited by the activity taking place around them.

John Whitehead, who has lived in the suburb for the past 20 years, said he had watched as the area deteriorated and was happy that it was now being revitalised.

“All these changes happening are good, the area is getting better. These big events cause a problem with the traffic but only since the roadworks started ... but I can’t complain, it makes the area better,” he said.

He will not be attending the rally and said he would “meditate a bit” before deciding who to vote for in next weeks poll.

Fikile Mtaung, who lives and works in the area, said she would probably stay in on Sunday as traffic became a “real problem” when events were held at the stadiums, especially with the roadworks.

“Or maybe I will go to the rally,” she said with a giggle.

She said she would definitely vote but was still unsure about who she would vote for.

“How many years we have voted and nothing changes,” she said, adding that she would like to see the next government tackle crime which was rife in the area.

The ANC expected about 400 local and foreign journalists to cover the event as well as 5 000 VIPs, including foreign diplomats.

About 15 000 people would march from the Johannesburg CBD to the stadium on Sunday morning.

There would be no fewer than 10 000 security members comprising police, metro police, and marshals across the stadium precinct.

Gauteng police spokesperson Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said police would be on site to monitor the situation.

“We will police the area as we would for any other major event,” he said.

Mokonyane said a joint operations centre, manned by ANC security, metro police and members of the crime intelligence unit, had already been set up.

Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the roads surrounding the stadium would be closed on Sunday including Charleton Terrace, Van Beek street, Bertrams Road, Miller Street and Upper Railway Street.

Mbalula said all ANC veterans would be expected to attend Sunday’s rally, however, he could not confirm or deny the attendance of former presidents Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki.

He said the party was confident of securing a decisive victory in the elections, including in the hotly-contested Western Cape.

Mokonyane said: “The ANC is an army that never goes to battle with the intention to lose.”

“Put NPA decision behind you”
Meanwhile, Zuma has urged ANC supporters to put the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop charges against him behind them, and to concentrate on winning the coming election.

They should also not allow themselves to be distracted by opposition parties or the media, he said in his weekly newsletter on Friday, issued five days ahead of next week’s national and provincial elections.

“We have now entered the Siyanqoba [we are winning] phase of our 2009 election campaign ...
We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by the opposition, the media or commentators. We should not allow them to set the agenda.

“The decision of the NPA to withdraw charges against me provides an opportunity for the movement and the country to put this matter behind us and to focus on the central task of the moment—to achieve a decisive mandate to intensify the struggle to achieve a better life for all.”

The ANC needed to “decisively win” the April 22 election, Zuma said, to establish an unequivocal mandate for five years of intensive national effort to accelerate change and progress.—Sapa

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