The African National Congress is under attack inside and outside South Africa’s borders, the party’s national chairperson Baleka Mbete told Ekurhuleni residents on Sunday.
“But the ANC is not a drug that you just smoke, it has been around for 103 years so whoever thinks they can topple it is playing games,” she said in isiZulu.
Mbete was speaking in Germiston at the launch of street committees in the region.
She told the different branches that were in attendance the party needed more votes than its current membership numbers.
“We need more than 20 million votes,” she told the crowd.
Statistically, based on 2014 elections and census data, the ANC is battling to hold on to areas where people are young, educated and have services, City Press reported.
She said members needed to get ready to work hard to address the issues on the ground ahead of the 2016 local government elections.
“We need… councillors to give us concrete information, so that when we do door-to-door [campaign] we can remind the residents what we have done as the ANC in that area.”
She said the party acknowledged that it had made many mistakes and wanted to improve through programmes such as the street committees.
These committees would create a culture of active citizenry at street level.
“Street committees are important because they are close to the people. You all know each other because that is where you live.
“Street committees are the best answer for our people to get help and opportunities about their various needs in the communities.
She urged residents to take ownership of their democracy.
One person would be selected to represent a street of up to 20 houses, the programme’s outline said.
“Local government elections aren’t the same as national elections. You need to talk about the matters going on in people’s neighbourhoods. You can’t lie about those things.”
She said although the programme was an initiative by the ANC, its services would help all members of the public.
“Let’s not think all these services are only for ANC members. All these services are for everyone, whether they are members of the ANC or not.
“When we fought for freedom we weren’t fighting for ANC members only.”
“Even those wearing blue t-shirts, don’t chase them away, we fought for them too. Ours is to educate them and show them where home is.”
She said newly elected Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was lost and she hoped that one day he would find his way back home to the ANC.
By: Mpho Raborife