Monday, January 5, 2009



Sunday Times
Johannesburg, SA

By Dominic Mahlangu
Jan 05, 2009

THE ANC’s election campaign kicks off with a vengeance this week as senior leaders prepare to fan out across the country in an unprecedented drive for votes.

President Kgalema Motlanthe has yet to announce a date for the general elections, but leading figures in the ruling party have suggested the poll could take place in late March or April.

This week, ANC president Jacob Zuma will be in the Eastern Cape to unveil the party’s election manifesto. He will present the ANC’s annual anniversary statement in East London.

The battle for support in that province is likely to be intense in the coming weeks: the breakaway Congress of the People, which has strong support there, holds its inaugural policy conference in KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth, later this month.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said at the weekend that the party’s election plan would be driven by door-to-door campaigns and other direct contact with communities.

He said all senior party officials would be out campaigning in the coming weeks to ensure an overwhelming ANC victory at the polls.

“The character of the election campaign that the ANC will embark on will be dominated by door- to-door work,” Mantashe said.

He said the ANC would deploy all its national executive committee members, as well as other senior party officials in the government, to garner support.

As part of his election drive in the Eastern Cape, Zuma is expected to meet traditional leaders in the build-up to the party’s election manifesto launch at the weekend.

He will meet Xhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu of the AmaGcaleka on Wednesday and King Maxhoba Sandile of the AmaRharhabe on Thursday.

TheSunday Times reported yesterday that the ANC had instructed all available provincial legislators to gather in East London this week, ahead of Zuma’s presentation of the annual party anniversary statement and election manifesto on Saturday.

Also this week, the ANC expects all provincial lists conferences, in which the names of candidates to serve in provincial government and local councils, to be finalised.

The national list conference is to be held on January 16-18, and is expected to showcase the party’s new leadership.

M antashe said the ANC had analysed its structures and found that those in the Western Cape needed the most assistance.

“We will use our resources to fight the [coming general] elections in the Western Cape,” he said.

“We are determined to win the province and ensure that it has a definite programme to set it on course in a direction to eradicate the abject poverty that many people in the Cape Town metro and other areas find themselves. The eradication of poverty remains a major national objective of the ANC.”

Mantashe said substantial resources had been dedicated to election campaigns in Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and North West.