ANC to move from ral­lies to house calls

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

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.”

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

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

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