Soweto gears up for birth­day bash

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - NONI MOKATI noni.mokati@inl.co.za

THE ANC hopes to pack Or­lando Sta­dium to the rafters on Sunday when it cel­e­brates its 105th birth­day.

About 800 buses have been hired to shut­tle sup­port­ers to the sta­dium, which has the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date 40 000 peo­ple.

Early this week, ANC head of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee Fik­ile Mbalula said over­flow plans were al­ready in place.

He said those who won’t make it inside Or­lando will be sent to a nearby rugby sta­dium.

The buses are also ex­pected to trans­port party mem­bers from Mpumalanga, Free State and North West.

Trans­port for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties has also been or­gan­ised.

Some peo­ple within the party said ac­cred­i­ta­tion for the me­dia had al­ready gone be­yond the ex­pected num­bers.

“We had spa­ces for 500 peo­ple and now we stand at 700. It has gone be­yond what we an­tic­i­pated,” Nathi Sha­bangu, a mem­ber of the ac­cred­i­ta­tion team, said.

The party is also not risk­ing any se­cu­rity breaches.

There will be a heavy po­lice pres­ence, which will in­clude Joburg metro po­lice and 2 000 ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mar­shals.

And while many sup­port­ers pre­pare to con­verge on Or­lando at the week­end, a mini rally was due to be hosted at noon today along the renowned Vi­lakazi Street in Or­lando West. This is one of the build-up ac­tiv­i­ties to Sunday’s cel­e­bra­tions.

Par­tic­i­pants from var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties, and their leaders, were due at the event, dubbed “ANC Fri­day on Vi­lakazi”. Mu­si­cians and cul­tural ac­tivists were ex­pected to cel­e­brate the his­tory of the con­ti­nent’s old­est lib­er­a­tion move­ment.

Stal­warts and Strug­gle icons re­sid­ing in Soweto were also in­vited.

Mean­while, the ANC’s fundrais­ing gala din­ner tomorrow at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre is likely to have lim­ited space.

The an­nual din­ner has in the past at­tracted top South African busi­ness­men and women, in­clud­ing the likes of min­ing mag­nate Pa­trice Mot­sepe.

Dig­ni­taries from the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Community and the Brics bloc are ex­pected to at­tend.

The SA Weather Ser­vice has fore­cast a partly cloudy day on Sunday, and ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa said there were ar­range­ments in place if it rained. The Or­lando Sta­dium gates will open at 7am and pro­ceed­ings start at 10am.

PIC­TURE: ITUMELENG ENGLISH

FRIDGES FULL: Karabo Let­lape, a worker at a she­been in Or­lando East, has or­gan­ised more al­co­hol ahead of the ANC cel­e­bra­tion in Soweto.

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