The ANC says its 106-anniversary celebrations will mark the official beginning of its campaigning towards the 2019 national elections.
On Saturday thousands of party members from across the country are expected at the Absa Stadium in East London where ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the NEC statement that will outline the roadmap towards the 2019 polls.
At a press briefing on the party’s state of readiness on Friday, secretary general Ace Magashule said the ANC was certain of victory at the polls.
“This January 8 [anniversary statement] will be the beginning of us mobilising people for a decisive victory in the 2019 elections,” Magashule said.
Since the beginning of the week, top six party officials have been conducting door-to-door visits in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in what Magashule said was part of a concerted effort to “re-connect” with people.
State President Jacob Zuma, who is now no longer an ANC office bearer, was expected to be present at the rally.
“President Zuma in his capacity as an ex-officio member of the NEC is expected to attend the rally. You will remember all the presidents who have been presidents of the ANC are automatically ex-officio.
Both former presidents Mbeki and Motlanthe were invited but unfortunately they are out of the country,” Magashule said.
The official programme is expected to kick off with messages of support from alliance partners followed by a parade through the streets of East London.
Ramaphosa is expected to speak at 11am, addressing what the ANC hopes will be a full 16 000 seater stadium.
In addition to the anniversary celebrations marking the beginning of the ANC’s campaigning, their conclusion would also mark the nearing end of Magashule and treasurer general Paul Mashatile’s terms in provincial office.
Magashule told journalists that the NEC had decided to set a March deadline for the two of them to vacate their roles as Free State Premier and Gauteng housing MEC respectively.
The two leaders were elected to occupy permanent office within the ANC at its 54th national elective conference and as such will not be permitted to serve in their provincial government positions.