Parties send in the big guns

Election posters as general elections draw near. | Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Election posters as general elections draw near. | Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published May 12, 2024


Durban — With national and provincial elections just 16 days away, political parties are ramping up their campaigns in a bid to woo the electorate.

Former president Thabo Mbeki, who is campaigning for the ANC, was at Heroes Acre in Imbali Township in KZN on Saturday.

He said the party must look at itself and be brave enough to remove non-performing public representatives to ensure it lived up to expectations and the promises contained in its manifesto.

Mbeki returned to the Moses Mabhida Region for the first time since 2006, following a booing incident at that time.

His tour on Saturday included a visit to the families of Struggle stalwarts Johnny Makhathini and Moses Mabhida; the laying of wreaths on their graves; and an interaction with the public at Greater Edendale Mall.

Speaking briefly at the cemetery, Mbeki stressed the need for the ANC to work towards delivering the kind of South Africa its founding fathers had in mind more than a century ago.

DA leader John Steenhuisen – accompanied by the party’s provincial leader, Francois Rodgers, and premier candidate Chris Pappas – took their campaign to Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban, where a concert was held. They called on voters to come out in their numbers and save the province from disaster.

“Like all residents of KZN, we know that eThekwini is a disaster zone, with taps running dry for weeks on end. We know that Ugu hasn’t had a reliable water supply for seven years. We also know that the ANC itself is a disaster,” said Steenhuisen.

As part of drumming up support, the DA is set to continue with door-to-door activities, public meetings in rural and urban areas, and media tours that will include visits to community radio stations in rural areas.

EFF heavyweights Julius Malema, the party’s president, and secretary-general Marshall Dlamini were also in the province. Dlamini is set to visit the IFP’s stronghold Nquthu, in northern KZN, which is hosting the EFF Ingoma, an event that will feature traditional music and dance, at a local sports field.

Malema is set to address Inanda community residents at the John Dube Stadium on Thursday. EFF provincial chairperson Mongezi Twala said Malema would also visit Phoenix to address community members in the Stonebridge Hall. On Friday, the EFF will hold community meetings in Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle’s Osizweni Stadium and at Esikhawini College.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party’s president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, would be criss-crossing KZN this week.

“Today he will be in Madadeni (Newcastle), and (tomorrow) he will be conducting a clean-up campaign at a transit camp in Lamontville.

“On Tuesday, he will be in Mlalazi; on Wednesday, he will be in Mtubatuba; Thursday in Big Five Hlabisa; Friday in Umsinga; Saturday in Thohoyandou (Limpopo); Sunday in Jozini; and he will come back to Durban the following week. We have a full campaign.”

ActionSA premier candidate Zwakele Mncwango said they were encouraged by the reception from communities across the province.

“We are realistic that we are not on an equal footing when it comes to budgets for the elections, but people have been keen on our message, and so I think we will do well for a party with such a budget.”

He said a key feature of their campaign had been to focus on what they can do, rather than mentioning other political formations.

Sunday Tribune