Thousands of ANC faithful attend KZN rally
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula addressed a party rally in KwaXimba in eThekwini on Sunday, with a violent incident taking place in the vicinity.
Mbalula said police were investigating the incident at the Manzolwandle sports field, but it was more likely an accidental shooting than an act of intimidation against party members at the event.
The party later said the incident took place away from the stadium and it was not clear if a person had been shot or stabbed.
Thousands of ANC supporters attended the rally in ward 1 in KwaXimba, in what was the ANC’s biggest ward by membership in the country and a stronghold, just weeks after former president Jacob Zuma attracted similar numbers at the same venue for an MK Party rally.
Mbalula called for calm while police were investigating the incident, saying that it would not be wise to “exaggerate things”.
“The police are investigating to check whether (someone who was) reckless with a gun shot people by mistake.
“So there is no need to jump to conclusions that we have been intimidated and all of that,” Mbalula said, adding that he was told the incident could have been an accidental discharge of the weapon.
“It is not clear who pulled the trigger but it looked like an accident.
“We are very much troubled by that particular incident,” Mbalula said.
On Sunday, he told supporters that the province is the home of the ANC.
“The ANC has restored dignity to the people,” Mbalula said as he urged voters to ignore those who suggested the party was a declining force in politics.
Mbalula urged supporters to go to Moses Mabhida Stadium in their numbers when the party holds its manifesto launch later this month.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mbalula said authorities should investigate whether elements of sabotage were behind the worsening power crisis.
“We want to applaud the work that has been done by the minister and board of Eskom. It is very clear that the state must not rule out the possibility of sabotage which is aligned to major events in the country to embarrass the democratic government.” The party’s provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said ward 1 continues to remain an important stronghold for the party.
He said the party had held a rally that involved people from the community, describing it as not a “provincial rally”.
“The intention was to only call KwaXimba (residents), there is a sizeable number of voters in that ward alone as it is a densely populated area. “Busing in people from outside the area was not our priority,” Mndebele said.
Earlier on Sunday, ANC NEC members Zweli Mkhize, Bheki Cele and Sibongiseni Dhlomo with the provincial chairperson visited the family of the first ANC president Dr John Langalibalele Dube on what would have been his 153rd birthday.
Zuma’s address in KwaXimba last month was seen as a message to the governing party that the MK Party is going to be a credible challenger in this year’s provincial and national election.
Zuma told thousands of supporters that the government’s plan to address inequality, poverty and unemployment had been on track since the advent of democracy but that this had changed.
“We have reached 30 years of freedom and poverty and suffering have re-emerged,” Zuma said.
It was a sad reality this was no longer happening under the oppressors but those who had fought for freedom, Zuma said. He said he was returning to politics and advised supporters not to listen to the rhetoric about the MK Party or him.
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