ANC big guns out to save Bay

CityPress - - News - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

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%.

PRES­I­DENT ZUMA

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