ANC to move from rallies to house calls
The ANC is set to shift its focus from big election rallies in the run-up to the August 3 elections, claiming the strategy is no longer effective.
The matter was discussed at the ANC national executive committee meeting that ended on Monday, resulting in a dominant view that the party should instead opt for smaller town hall meetings, street gatherings and door-to-door visits.
This means that, apart from the ruling party’s Gauteng launch of its election manifesto, held yesterday at FNB stadium – and the upcoming ANC Siyanqoba rally, to be held on July 31 at Ellis Park and Johannesburg stadiums – voters are likely to see less of the ANC’s traditional crowd-puller spectacles and shows of force.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told City Press that the party was not concerned about perceptions that its change of strategy could be seen as a concession that it was losing support to the opposition.
“They cannot compete with us because, firstly, the concept of rallies has been a concept of the liberation movement,” said Kodwa, adding that “the DA is a Johnny-come-lately … It is only now that they are projecting themselves as an organisation with mass followers that they are introducing rallies”.
He said that the Economic Freedom Fighters was “the new kid on the block, so you cannot compare us with them”.
Kodwa said the ANC’s focus, in terms of its 2016 municipal elections strategy, was not so much about how many people come to the stadium.
“Our focus is on contact with the voter, including [going] door to door. Our assessment is that the South African voter is not very convinced about going to rallies,” he said.
He pointed out that rallies also attracted the converted – members and supporters – and that “sometimes when you talk to [voters] it is not a measure that you will win elections”.
“Standing up in a platform and making revolutionary statements does not convince [the ordinary masses], who have problems with the quality of services, to go to a rally.
“You must go to ... his or her house and appreciate the difficulties of the quality of services so that you are able to make an intervention. A rally does not give you that,” he said.
He said the ANC was not in competition with the opposition. “We are concerned about ourselves. We are not in elections because we are competing with anybody.
“But,” he was quick to add, “we can never undermine the strategies of the opposition because the space is contested.”
WARM WELCOME ANC president Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, entered FNB stadium for the party's Gauteng manifesto launch yesterday to a cheering crowd and relayed a positive message to supporters