With less than a month before the country’s local government elections on August 3, the ANC has pulled out all the stops in a bid to retain most of the big metros, including Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The party launched its Countdown to Victory campaign at the Market Theatre on Wednesday with a guest list that included celebrities, sports stars and influential people from different sectors. 

“We have invited very important people but also we have the best of the best,” said ANC organising head Fikile Mbalula.

The ANC goes into the municipal elections in danger of losing the strategic metros. President Jacob Zuma, the keynote speaker, claimed that the ANC is the party that led the liberation struggle. 

“No matter what everyone says, the ANC is the only party that has liberated all South Africans, including the oppressors, and the repeat of the struggle will never happen again,” said Zuma.

The ANC president began his speech by giving the audience a history lesson on how he led the underground structures of the party in exile as secretary and stressed that for anything to have succeeded the party had to plan properly.
He added that if members of the liberation movement had acted out of anger against apartheid, South Africa would have not seen the “miracle” transaction that is admired all over the world. “That’s why I don’t understand why anyone would vote for opposition parties that were formed out of anger,” said Zuma.

The ANC president criticised all other opposition parties – saying they were formed out of anger. He said anyone who took South Africa seriously would not cast a vote for the opposition because the parties have no policies, especially those that were formed and led by disgruntled former ANC members. “Political parties are formed by politicians for political objectives. You can’t form an organisation based on revenge,” said Zuma.

Zuma said that voting for opposition parties would be a waste of time because there’s no legitimate opposition in the country. He said people were quick to forget that the Democratic Alliance, which is the official opposition, was formed as a coalition between former apartheid parties, the National Party and the Progressive Party. 

“If you think the DA is a wonderful party, remember it’s the only opposition with people who oppressed us … if you are a black person and join that party, really! … It’s worse when you actually lead the party,” said Zuma.

Zuma also said the only reason ANC councillors are able to complain and protest when they are unhappy with issues was a democratic system that is embedded within the party. He criticised opposition parties for not being open with how councillors and mayors were selected and attributed the infighting within the ANC to the party’s ability to encourage freedom of speech. 

“The fact is people argue and disagree, that happens in every family. The ANC is a big family, disagreements will always be there,” said Zuma. 

Earlier on Wednesday, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa hit the elections campaign trail in Tshwane flanked by ANC leaders including outgoing mayor and ANC chair in the region Sputla Ramokgopa. Ramaphosa visited the children’s orphanage in Kalafong Hospital, in Attridgeville, before attending a community meeting in the area.