ANC big guns out to save Bay
The ANC in the Eastern Cape is working harder to increase the 48% scored by the party in the 2014 national elections at Nelson Mandela Bay by using President Jacob Zuma as its chief campaigner ahead of the August 3 local government elections.
Over the past few months, Zuma has crisscrossed the province, leading the local government campaign at political rallies and launching several projects aimed at showing off his government’s performance in infrastructure development.
The party is doubling its efforts to retain two metros that are being targeted by opposition parties: Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City.
On Friday, Zuma was in the province again to launch the Ncora Water Treatment Works in Cofimvaba, while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was in East London to attend the party’s fundraising gala dinner.
The ANC in the province admitted to City Press on Thursday that opposition parties posed a serious threat, especially in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the DA and new party the United Front enjoyed support.
Zuma has made a point of visiting Port Elizabeth several times, where SA Football Association boss Danny Jordaan is the party’s mayoral candidate.
Ramaphosa’s visit to East London was preceded by a visit by finance minister and ANC national executive committee member Pravin Gordhan, who attended a march to pray for peaceful local elections.
In most of the official state events addressed by Zuma recently, attendance has been good, with ANC supporters dressing in the party’s colours.
While Zuma was in Ncora and Ramaphosa in East London on Friday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was in Mthatha to monitor progress on infrastructure projects.
Last weekend, the ANC’s top six leaders – excluding Zuma and Ramaphosa – were in Port Elizabeth to campaign and quell tensions over disputes relating to ANC ward candidate lists.
This week, provincial ANC leaders admitted that using the party’s top brass was a strategic move ahead of the polls to ensure it retained control of the two metros.
Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who is also the ANC’s head of election campaigning, said while the party was ensuring that leaders were visible in every province, it was correct that the ANC had intensified its campaign and visibility in areas such as Nelson Mandela Bay.
“What better way than having our top leaders visit those areas? This is not only happening in the Eastern Cape – we are there in all the provinces doing government work and changing the lives of our people,” Mokonyane said.
ANC provincial executive committee member Mlibo Qoboshiyane said that regularly bringing party heavyweights such as the president to the Eastern Cape was a strategic move to retain municipalities that formed its economic hub, and not just to keep up appearances.
He said indications were that Jordaan would receive more than 50% of the vote as the mayoral candidate.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the party’s national leadership was being unleashed to ensure victory.
This week’s Ipsos/eNCA poll showed the DA at 37%, with the ANC trailing at 27%.