Mixed reactions have trailed the ruling party (ANC)’s Gauteng manifesto launch held at the FNB stadium over the weekend.
However, in as much as President Zuma’s supporters have continued to decrease numerically, the ANC was able to pool 87,000 supporters to the event.
In fact, the party asserted that with the aforementioned number of supporters, it has settled the war of words about whether it could fill the stadium.
During the event, Premier David Makhura, who took to the stage shortly after 13:00 told the mammoth crowd that 80 128 people had gone through the turnstiles and that 15 000 were still outside in buses waiting to come in to the 94 000-seater venue in Soweto.
ANC’s quest to fill stadiums during manifesto launch started in April after the party failed to fill the 46 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The ruling party was further ‘slapped’ on the face after the Economic Freedom Fighters filled the 40 000-seater Orlando Stadium and the overflow area outside the stadium at its manifesto launch on April 30.
ANC Vows To Fill FNB Stadium
This landmark achievement made the ANC in Gauteng vow to fill the bigger capacity FNB Stadium. The party’s provincial branch started by launching a social media campaign with the hashtag #fillupFNBStadium weeks before the rally.
Also, ANC Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile affirmed four days before the event that the party will fill the FNB stadium.
“We are very confident that we will fill the stadium. Remember the way we fill stadiums is not so much about marketing‚ we use branch structures. Branches go on the ground and they mobilise. This is part of the work we are doing today‚” Mashatile said.
FNB Stadium Management CEO Jacques Grobbelaar, who confirmed the entrance of the people into the 94, 800-seater stadium noted that the stadium’s original seating capacity of 97 736 was reduced to 88 800 after the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
President Jacob Zuma who spoke at the event boasted that the ANC cannot lose its grip on the strategically important economic hub.
“Throughout its life, the headquarters of the ANC was in Gauteng. In no way can we have any party being in charge in GP. You therefore have a serious responsibility to defend and maintain the home of this mighty organisation…
The ANC must win the 2016 local government elections convincingly all over the country, and also in particular, this province of Gauteng,” he said.
We’ll recall that two and a half years ago, in the same stadium, Zuma was booed in front of a number of other heads of state by supporters attending the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.
However, the case was different this time around as he arrived the FNB stadium to a warm welcome by ANC’s supporters who flooded the area in yellow T-shirts.