In the wake of speculation about whether former president Thabo Mbeki is willing to assist the ruling ANC to campaign for the local government elections on August 3, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday called on “all ANC heavyweights” to campaign for the party.
“All hands have to be on deck,” Ramaphosa said at the ANC’s call centre in Randburg, Johannesburg, in what could be interpreted as a reference to Mbeki.
Last week, The Citizen quoted reliable sources as saying that Mbeki, who was recalled nine months before the end of his term in 2008, was not keen to canvass for the ANC.
> > ALSO READ: Tambo family ‘joins Mbeki’ in shunning ANC
The ANC in Greater Johannesburg has described as “mischievous” the reports that Mbeki was “not keen” to assist the ANC its campaign. A few days ago, the former president said he was still a member of the ANC, but did not go into further detail and would not say if he would assist with campaigning or even publicly endorsing the party under the leadership of his successor, Jacob Zuma.
Ramaphosa is the latest ANC bigwig to publicly call on senior party leaders to campaign for the party. At the weekend, ANC veterans Tokyo Sexwale and Mavuso Msimang called on Mbeki to canvass for the ANC, saying he had an obligation to do so.
> > ALSO READ: Tambos and Mandelas free to vote EFF
Yesterday, Ramaphosa said the ANC was pushing very hard in the local government election campaign.
“From the president right downwards, we are all volunteers of equal measure, size and effectiveness. “This is what we live for,” he said. “We live to win votes to make people’s dreams come alive and to make sure that we do deliver on their aspirations.
“We also have to be there so that they can throw criticism at us. Our job is to then assure them that our key objective as the ANC is to make their life better,” he added.
In its election campaign, the ANC in Gauteng has roped in stalwarts such as former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada to endorse the party publicly.
With days to go before the local government elections, the ANC campaign was at full steam ahead yesterday.
> > ALSO READ: Ramaphosa blames ‘hidden hand’ for ANC murders
Ramaphosa, ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile and Johannesburg mayor and ANC regional chairperson in Greater Johannesburg, Parks Tau, descended on the party’s call centre to interact with the electorate telephonically.
Ramaphosa said the ANC’s election campaign was now in top gear.
One of the callers, George Maleka, told Mashatile he did not have a clue whether he would be voting for the ANC.
Mashatile asked: “Is [there] something you are worried about?
“I am the leader of the ANC in Gauteng and also MEC for human settlements. Anything you are worried about you can tell me so we can fix it.”
Maleka said he was worried about fraud, jobs and service delivery.
In response, Mashatile asked: “So, if I promise you that we will be hard at work to deal with these issues, you will be happy?”