President Jacob Zuma on Sunday urged those who had left the ANC to return to it.
“We thank all our people who have left the ANC, who responded to the call we made that they should return home,” he told thousands of supporters at the party’s Siyanqoba rally at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.
“We urge all others who are still in other parties to make the journey home.”
Zuma assured them they would be warmly received.
The ANC’s Siyanqoba rally was the last one before the May 7 elections.
Vibrant and exciting
Zuma praised the ANC’s election campaign, calling it vibrant and exciting.
“Our campaign does not end today,” he said. “Our real work is on Wednesday, the 7th of May.”
He asked all 1.2-million ANC members as well as volunteers to make sure people went out and voted on Wednesday.
Zuma said the ANC was concluding its campaign on a high note and there was a lot to be proud of.
During his address, Zuma went through a number of the party’s achievements in government over the past 20 years and in particular the last five.
“The people have told us that South Africa is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994, thanks to the programmes and policies of the ANC,” he said.
“At the same time, they identified areas of concern and told us where we need to improve, as we deliver a better life for all.”
As the country celebrated 20 years of democracy, Zuma said the ANC was humbled to have led the nation since then.
“We are one nation, born out of the ashes of racial oppression. We are building a common identity. We sing one national anthem, fly one flag and embrace our cultural diversity,” he said.
“While we have done well over 20 years ago, the past five years have also pushed development and transformation forward.”
In 2009 the ANC identified five priority areas – health, education, rural development and land reform, fighting crime and creating decent jobs.
Zuma said the party would continue focusing on these areas.
Earlier, Zuma received a warm welcome when he arrived at the 95 000-seater stadium, which was filled to capacity. ANC supporters cheered as Zuma walked up to the stage with both hands raised, smiling and waving.
The last time he addressed a crowd at the FNB stadium he was booed.
The ANC president ended his address on Sunday by singing Yinde Lendlela.
While singing he led the ANC’s national executive committee onto a ramp in front of the stage while gold confetti was blown into the air, much to the crowd’s delight.
A group of ANC supporters on the pitch walked around holding a cardboard coffin painted white with “RIP EFF, DA, NFP, VF, Cope and UDM” written on it.
Green, black and yellow
ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela also attended the rally on Sunday.
She arrived dressed in full black as she was still in mourning since the death of her ex-husband former president Nelson Mandela.
Throughout the day on Sunday, ANC supporters were entertained by local dancers and musicians.
The stadium was a sea of green, black and yellow as people waved ANC flags and blew vuvazelas, singing and dancing.
There were also many home made posters, reading “Run Zille run”, “Run Malema run” and “Better luck next time Malema”. – Sapa