Ahead of its traditional final rally at the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg on
Sunday, South Africa’s African National Congress party finds itself in a dilemma; how to lock out
miscreants hell-bent on booing President Jacob Zuma.
A similar spectacle played out at the same venue in front of global dignitaries late last year, much to
the embarrassment of the South African President and the consternation of the world.
The occasion was the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black democratically
Those in attendance included the
US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Millions of people were following the event that was being streamed live to a global television audience.
“They are lunatics”, ANC said.
President Zuma had to contend with another dose of the humiliation again this year in Limpopo
during an election campaign.
“As our mighty revolutionary force gears up for its final push, we need to carefully address the matter
of the final rally.
That is to say, we can’t mess this
up,” said a statement from ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg.
“Counter-revolutionary forces have conspired recently against our president and we must ensure
this does not happen at the Siyanqoba Rally on May 4,” added the statement.
The option of vetting people attending the Sunday rally was ruled out Friday, on grounds of being an
The ANC is expecting at least 60,000 people to attend the Siyanqoba (advance victory) rally, that
will be relayed live by the South African television channels; SABC, eNCA and ANN7.
Vetting those who were expected to attend would be a complex exercise and impossible, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, said.
“Booing is part of our everyday life, we deal with it every day,” he said.
DIEHARDS DESERT PARTY
Though President Zuma and the ANC are widely expected to garner a resounding win in the May 7
General Election, his first term performance has been the subject of much criticism and ridicule.
The populist Zuma, who replaced the perceived snobbish Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s chief executive, has been accused of corruption,
incompetence and even immorality.
His reign has seen some formerly diehard ANC adherents such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and
the fire-spitting Julius Malema desert the party.
President Zuma is expected to address the Sunday rally at 1pm local time to make a final pitch to
encourage eligible voters to give him and the ANC another chance.
The rally will also be a forum for the party to articulate its achievements over the two decades of uninterrupted rule.
A nervous ANC was reportedly doing all within its power to protect President Zuma from any
humiliation during the Siyanqoba rally.
The personal details of thousands of those expected to attend have reportedly been recorded,
and the seating arrangement organised in a manner that will make it easy for the party officials
to identify any disrupters.
Host Gaunteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has appealed to the party branches to control
But Mr Mokonyane too is not leaving anything to chance.
On Wednesday, he outlined the stringent security measures being put in place to ensure an
incident-free final rally.
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