/ 8 May 2024

Promises of jobs, grants as Fikile Mbalula hits KZN campaign trail

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula campaigning in Ward 57, eThekwini. Photo: @MbalulaFikile/X

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula led the ANC’s door-to-door campaign in Inanda and Ntuzuma, north-west of Durban, on Tuesday, calling on residents to resist “fashion” — a reference to the breakaway uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party led by Jacob Zuma — and stay with their political “home.”

The party’s top leaders, its national executive committee and the leadership of its alliance partners, will spend the week in KwaZulu-Natal — which contributed two million of the ANC’s 10 million votes nationally in 2019 — to ensure that it maintains its majority after 29 May.

The party faces a challenge in the province from the moonshot coalition involving the Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and smaller parties — and from Zuma’s party, which has taken votes off the ANC in by-elections held earlier this year.

Mbalula’s focus during the early part of the week is on the north of the city, working traditional ANC strongholds such as Ntuzuma and Inanda, where the party now faces a potential loss of votes as a result of the emergence of the MK party.

Mbalula visited homes to ask residents to vote for the ANC and held a series of community meetings in Amaoti and Ntuzuma in wards 57 and 107 of the eThekwini metro, where the ANC’s share of the vote dropped below 50% in the November 2021 local government elections.

At a public meeting in Amaoti, the ANC secretary general acknowledged the problems of toilets, water and electricity supply, but asked residents of the area — which only received municipal services after 1994 — to “remember” who it was that brought services to them.

Mbalula said services had been undermined by “crooks” and called on residents to continue to support “your organisation” to ensure that development of the area continued.

He said that those who had stolen money destined for community development and services were being removed from the party, or had left.

The ANC’s plans to extend the social grant system and to boost youth employment through a national service programme after the election was central to Mbalula’s interactions with voters.

He said that after the election the ANC would upgrade the R350 social relief of distress grant introduced during the Covid-19 lockdown into a basic income grant. 

Young people would be given work opportunities through the South African National Defence Force and other state agencies through a national service programme to be introduced by an ANC government after the elections.

The ANC would also lift the restriction preventing those above the age of 35 from getting first-time jobs, while prior experience requirements for entrants into the public service would also be set aside, Mbalula said.

Mbalula said that although the ANC had “challenges”, they should continue to vote for the party which had fought for their freedom and was now attempting to improve their lives.

He said the ANC was “protecting freedom” and asked residents to use their “power” to keep the party in office by continuing to vote for it and to convince those who did not “believe” to follow suit.

“You all know the truth as black people, you need to stay in the ANC. You must always believe in the ANC and stay with your organisation. Do not lose hope in the ANC. Those who left the ANC will still come back, they don’t know where they are going,” Mbalula said.

While Mbalula works the province’s only metro, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has been deployed to work the far north of KwaZulu-Natal, where a fierce battle at the polls with the IFP is expected.

ANC first deputy secretary general Nomvula Mokonyane leads the campaign in the Midlands, a stronghold for the party that is also under threat from the emergence of the MK party.