The ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay put its best foot forward as President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned in the Bay, boasting some of the largest crowds the party has managed to draw in recent years.
Ramaphosa spent Sunday campaigning in three different locations, two community halls – the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton and George Botha Hall in Kleinskool, both packed to capacity – and in Motherwell, where he addressed thousands of supporters inside a huge tent that overflowed to two smaller ones.
He touched on issues including the functioning of the coalition government in the Bay, gang violence, crime and corruption.
Speaking on the coalition in the metro, Ramaphosa said it was not working out.
“We are in a coalition that is not working because coalition governments never really work well,” he said.
“You need one key political party that will run the affairs of government.
“We have to get to a point where we have one boss. The ANC is that boss.
“The community here realised that by not having the ANC in charge here, they made a big mistake.
“When it comes to the next government local elections, I want us to vote right so that the ANC must be in charge of the metro,” Ramaphosa said.
On his campaign trail in the metro, Ramaphosa was accompanied by ANC Eastern Cape provincial executive chair Oscar Mabuyane, PEC member and communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, along with other ANC national executive committee members and alliance partners.
Ramaphosa wooed and joked with the crowd about how a woman from Komani (Queenstown) had invited him to her RDP house.
In this joke, Ramaphosa said the woman ushered him all the way to her bedroom, showed him her bed and asked him to lie on it – much to the amusement of the crowd.
“I was still the deputy president back then and so she asked me to lay on the bed and I did.
“The bed and pillows were very soft but I quickly got up because I thought of how this would look to the ANC’s Women’s League,” he joked.
With 22 days left until the allimportant election, Ramaphosa said the ANC still had a lot of work to do to ensure it received an overwhelming majority vote.
He spoke about how the scourge of gang violence and gang-related deaths needed to be addressed.
“We are deeply aware of the scourge of criminality and violence that is happening in our society.
“It has a number of causes and there are many reasons why it is prevailing the way it is.
“At a cabinet level we have come up with a strategy that will put the criminals behind bars, that will make sure we arrest those criminals and put them exactly where they belong.
“We’ve set up an anti-gang unit which I launched in Cape Town, which we have also spread out to Gauteng and it’s also going to be set up here,” he said.
“Police minister Bheki Cele has already had a lot of success in the Western Cape and we’re beginning to curb gang violence and I can say without any doubt that even here in the Eastern Cape we are coming after them.”
The president said this was to secure the lives of young people and get to a place where there was no crime and violence, which would help to attract investors.
“As long as we have criminality, investors will not come to our country and communities will not be safe.
“We’re also going to make sure our women, young girls and children live in safe communities, whether thugs like it or not,” he said.
Ramaphosa also touched on corruption and said ordinary citizens complained about this everywhere he went.
“When I say ‘root out corruption’, people must not fear because we’re not going to target anyone,” he said.
“Whenever I do door-todoor, people always raise corruption.
“Ordinary people in their homes tell me ‘president, get rid of corruption’.
“We’re going to reposition our government and set out a clear vision for South Africa.”
Ramaphosa said the ANC was on a path of renewal and was the only party in the country to admit its mistakes.
He said they were working very hard on creating jobs because this was one of the biggest worries for people.
“Nearly every home we go to our people say they don’t have work and want their children to get jobs because some of their kids go to study at universities to get qualifications but sit at home,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the government was going to rectify a number of problems and defects in hundreds of RDP houses in the metro.
“We are also going to be focusing on making sure our government works well at national, provincial and local government level.
“At local government level, we’ve got a lot of challenges here,” he said.
On Saturday, Ramaphosa paid a courtesy visit to Bantu Church of Christ Bishop John Bolana, who was said to be close to former president Jacob Zuma – and who is believed to have two million followers.
Congregants gave Ramaphosa a resounding welcome and assured him that the church was 100% behind him and the ANC.
Meanwhile, earlier during the weekend Ramaphosa responded to EFF leader Julius Malema’s claims that he would lose the ANC internal battle during the party’s national general council.
Ramaphosa said Malema was talking “fables” just like those who had said he was going to lose at the ANC conference at Nasrec, where he was elected president of the party in December 2017.
The president was talking on the sidelines of an ANC rally held in Swaneville in Kagiso on the West Rand on Saturday.