Zuma promises to sort out candidate lists later

President Jacob Zuma told unhappy ANC members during an election drive in Bloemfontein on Thursday to vote for the ANC and that problems with the candidate’s list would be sorted out later.

Zuma was visiting the Khayelitsha informal settlement near Grasslands, in Bloemfontein, when local residents handed him a memorandum containing their grievances.

Speakers were given an opportunity to air their problems over the loudspeakers of the ANC’s election truck before Zuma spoke.

One placard read: “We don’t want your candidate”. It was discreetly taken away and hidden by party members.

Speaking from the back of an ANC election truck, Zuma urged the gathering to be disciplined.

He told the cheering crowd, mostly in isiZulu, that the ANC would investigate their unhappiness with the election candidate lists and would come back to them after the elections.

Local residents were also unhappy about stands for houses in the area.

Thabo Ramolahloane (27) said the council had to make a plan for “pens” (stands), roads and electricity in the area.

“They must stop their propaganda, the ANC. Enough is enough.” He said councillors had visited them during 2010 and made many promises which never materialised.

“No pens, no vote,” he said.

Elias Qokoza (26) said he wanted a job. He criticised the council for using people outside his ward area to do work inside the ward.

“Hier is niks werk. [There are no jobs here].” Tshepo Sehloho (29) was very critical of the ANC’s visit to the area.

“They want our vote, but we will not see them again [afterwards],” he said.

Zuma was accompanied by Free State premier Ace Magashule, outgoing Mangaung mayor Playfair Morule and various Free State ministers.

Many party members in yellow T-shirts, waving flags praised the ANC and danced in the dirt road in front of the truck’s stage.

Many came just to see “the People’s President” and even children pushed and shoved to get a glimpse of Zuma.

A barefoot boy carried another on his shoulders in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the stage. Many residents passed cellphones to journalists, security and photographers to take Zuma’s picture.

At the end of every gathering, Zuma’s trademark song Umshini Wami’ (bring me my machine gun) sounded.

In a visit to the Mapikela House in Batho, Zuma told the crowd outside that they were “bound to vote ANC” because of the party’s origins in Bloemfontein.

If development has not reached them yet, “it was coming, it was just a matter of time”, he told them.—Sapa

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