The build-up to the ANC’s 105th anniversary celebration has begun, with the first of a series of door-to-door visits and community meetings held in Gauteng today.
ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, secretary general Gwede Mantashe and national executive committee (NEC) members Aaron Motsoaledi and Malusi Gigaba visited several Gauteng townships including Alexandra, Evaton and Soweto to lobby locals to join the party’s rally at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
With its theme of “Unity in Action”, the rally is expected to give the ANC an opportunity to set the tone and direction for the year ahead.
Mantashe told residents of Evaton, in the Vaal Triangle, that this year will also be declared the year of Oliver Tambo, whose ideals he urged the party’s members to emulate.
“We can’t have a corrupt ANC. As we celebrate 100 years of [ANC] president OR Tambo, you can’t associate him with a corrupt ANC,” Mantashe said.
The secretary general also denounced the rifts that have been forming in the party.
“Corruption, looting, factionalism and accidental leadership succession will destroy the ANC. Money will destroy the ANC.”
But factionalism is likely to deepen this year as the party heads towards what is expected to be a hotly contested elective conference in December. ANC members are believed to be divided on whether to back African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the organisation’s next president.
Factionalism is also believed to be at play within the party’s NEC which, in November last year, for the first time saw internal calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The NEC is expected to meet again this week to finalise the January 8 statement, which will be delivered by Zuma.
But the party’s road to Orlando Stadium has been met with some resistance, with its social media campaign partly backfiring. What was meant to be a unifying exercise by the ANC trended for the wrong reasons when the party’s twitter hashtag, #WeAreANC, was used by a dissatisfied public to highlight corruption, self-interest and poor service delivery by the party.
Despite the lack of support on social media, the ANC has received some assistance from the Gauteng Liquor Board, which has decided to relax liquor trading times for qualifying traders from January 6 to 8, the weekend of the ANC’s annual celebration.
The Gauteng provincial government says the event will contribute towards boosting the province’s economy, especially in the tourism and hospitality industries, as thousands are expected to attend the celebrations.