The ANC has sent out a strong message against racism, instructing its members to fight it in the workplace, institutions of higher learning and society in general.
Thousands of supporters dressed in the party’s colours, painted Pretoria yellow yesterday as they descended on the Union Buildings in a mass march against racism, and towards unity and democracy.
ANC brass, ministers, and provincial leaders from several provinces led the crowd.
Supporters were brought into the city by buses from early morning. Traffic was brought to a standstill in Pretoria central as the thousands marched from Burgers Park in the city centre.
By midday, the marchers had arrived at the lawns area of the Union Buildings, where loud music was being played from a public address system.
A high security perimeter fence separated the thousands who were clad in yellow ANC T-shirts from the party leadership.
Many in the crowds were wearing yellow ANC T-shirts which read “Hands off Zuma” and “Vote ANC”.
Some were waving placards that said “Register to vote ANC”. But criticism on social media quickly brewed calling the march an electioneering campaign.
ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said South Africans need access to their arable land so that they can contribute to the nation’s food security.
“Our people must have access to land. The question of food security cannot be left to the preserve of Tau-SA [Transvaal Agricultural Union SA], a racist farmers organisation,” Mantashe said.
ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini rallied supporters to fight racism at universities.
“Let’s go to University of Johannesburg, Pretoria University, Free State University and Wits where the rector does not know if he is a politician, an analyst or a rector.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura took a swipe at opposition parties.
“Which party is the party of racists? The DA. Who is the party of anarchy? The EFF. We will not allow any party to organise to bring people together under the guise of racism and we know which party is the leading racist party in South Africa,” he said.