President Jacob Zuma began a door-to-door campaign in Philippi in Cape Town on Tuesday, as part of the ANC’s anniversary celebrations.
The party celebrates 103 years on January 8.
Philippi residents started singing old struggle songs as Zuma emerged from his vehicle and walked over to a group of pensioners waiting in line to meet him.
Hilda Sekeleni told the president about her struggles. The 75-year-old lives in a two-roomed house with her nine grandchildren, and says her pension does not cover the essentials needed to raise the children.
The children share a bed and some have to sleep on the floor. Sekeleni said Zuma told her everything would be okay. Asked whether she believed him she said: “I want to believe him but I don’t.”
Other residents pushed and pulled at each other to try and get a glimpse of Zuma. He later addressed the crowd with a loudhailer.
Speaking in isiXhosa, Zuma invited residents to Saturday’s rally at the Cape Town stadium to commemorate the birth of the ANC 103 years ago.
Zuma used the loudhailer to encourage people to vote for the ANC in the 2016 local government elections.
He claimed the Democratic Alliance-run provincial government cared only about delivering services to white communities in the Western Cape.
The organisation was originally known as the South African Native National Congress, and was formed in 1912 at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein.
Its first president was John Dube, and poet and author Sol Plaatje was among its founding members. The organisation became the ANC in 1923 and formed its military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe in 1961. – Sapa, Staff reporter