African National Congress (ANC) top brass have been taking the streets of Democratic Alliance (DA) run Western Cape by storm ahead of its 103rd birthday celebrations on Saturday. The event hasn’t come without its fair share of political squabbles however, with ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe calling out the City of Cape Town for alleged “Draconian requirements” for the big party at the Cape Town Stadium.
Mantashe’s statements come as top party officials have taken to communities across the Cape Flats, using the opportunity to address the socio-economic challenges faced by residents in these areas.
According to a report, ANC official Moloto Mothapo claimed the two main issues raised by residents of the Dunoon and Joe Slovo townships during a recent tour by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, was a lack of service delivery and access to grants.
But DA spokesperson, Phumzile Vandama said such politicking could be expected, especially in the lead up to the local government elections in 2016. She said the talk and debate surrounding the ANC’s anniversary celebrations in the Cape marked an “interesting start to an interesting political year”.
The ANC in the build up to Saturday’s event has been extremely critical of the City’s strict regulations, particularly in the use of the Cape Town Stadium as a venue. But Vandama insisted such tight requirements were a necessity.
“It (the stadium) is in the middle of a residential area, and the regulations are applied to everyone equally. The City can’t make special exceptions for the ANC,” she said.
She said these regulations were to ensure that should an incident occur during the event, the City would not be forced to foot the blame. She further brushed off Mantashe’s statements as nervousness on the part of the ANC, over a perceived lack of support in the Western Cape.
“They have rented this massive stadium and are now worried about making sure that they’ve got some people in the seats. Now they are accusing the DA of sabotage, and it is absolutely completely untrue,” she stressed.
The event has also been overshadowed by the postponement of the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrels’ carnival, which has now been included as part of the ANC bash. Although a new date has been set for the 17th of January, around 40 000 minstrels from the Cape Cultural Events and Carnival Committee are still expected to join in on the celebrations.
Whilst not sure of the actual logistics of the event, Vandama said the City of Cape Town had put in place “comprehensive transport plans” ahead of the bash.
“The city has clearly put in a lot of work to ensure the ANC’s event goes ahead without any glitches,” she said.
Over 50 000 supporters are expected to fill into the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday as part of the celebrations, with the ANC vowing to win back the Western Cape in the upcoming elections. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)