ANC big shots have rolled into the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in and around Port Elizabeth to woo voters ahead of the party’s manifesto launch here tomorrow – but some have had a less than warm reception in the Friendly City.
In the latest incident, ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine only managed to draw an audience of about 70 people at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, about an hour after the league’s event was officially supposed to start.
He addressed the small group from a massive ANC elections truck parked close to an open piece of grass. Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was also supposed to address the meeting, but didn’t show up. Mbalula’s spokesperson Esethu Hasane told the Mail & Guardian that the sports minister wasn’t billed to speak at NMMU, however, and was instead due to speak at Walmer High School.
The ANC has been losing support on the campus, with the DA Students Organisation in control of the SRC on campus for a second year in a row.
In another incident earlier in the day, Social Development Minister and ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini was driven to tears when she was confronted by a mob of angry residents in New Brighton where she was due to open the Ernest Malgas drug treatment centre.
Community members claimed people from the area were not employed to work there. According to HeraldLive she burst into tears after members of the mob said she was drunk on expensive whiskey.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni, however, said Dlamini completed what she set out to do. “Comrade Bathabile’s event did take place today. The drug centre has been opened,” she said.
Residents also closed a road this morning where President Jacob Zuma was supposed to have campaigned earlier.
Last week Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was told by students at the Walter Sisulu University campus in East London that they didn’t have time to fit her into their schedule.
ANC chairperson and Speaker Baleka Mbete was similarly prevented from making a scheduled speech yesterday.
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte on Wednesday night faced a rebellion among branch leaders who disagreed with the ANC leadership’s stance on the Constitutional Court judgment regarding non-security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. Branches want Zuma to be disciplined, according to a report in Business Day.
Metro mayor Danny Jordaan, however, said despite differences of opinion, “we (ANC) will win the metro”.
The DA has weighed in by saying: “It hasn’t been a warm welcome at all for the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay. President Zuma was rejected by taxi owners in Uitenhage, Minister Dlamini was told to leave by New Brighton residents, and now Maine has been shown the door at a youth rally. Maine is losing the youth vote, while President Zuma is losing the rest. The ANC is against the ropes. Change is coming in August and the DA is ready to govern.”
Note: This story has been edited to include comment from Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s spokesperson, Esethu Hasane.