The ANC in the Eastern Cape is hard at work preparing to host an estimated 100000 party supporters for the governing party’s 106th anniversary celebrations in East London on January 13.
Provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi – who has been involved in the preparations over the December holidays for the January 8 Statement, to be delivered by newly-elected party president Cyril Ramaphosa – said it was all systems go.
Ngcukayitobi said they had prepared Buffalo City Stadium, Jan Smuts and Buffalo Park for the annual event, which will set the tone for both the ANC and the government next year. Ramaphosa will speak at the main event in Buffalo City Stadium while Jan Smuts and Buffalo Park will be used as overflow venues where supporters can watch the address on big screens.
Ngcukayitobi said setting aside two more stadiums was meant to avoid potential congestion and stampedes, but assured party supporters that Ramaphosa would go for a brief meet–and-greet in Buffalo Park and Jan Smuts after delivering his address.
According to Ngcukayitobi, there was no holiday for the ANC provincial office as marketing and public relations measures were in full swing to ensure that the province alone mobilises no less than 55000 people.
He said the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape had committed to bus in at least 10000 supporters each.
Ngcukayitobi said the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) was out to go bigger than the last anniversary celebrations held in the Eastern Cape in 2009.
“We are ready as the Eastern Cape to host South Africa in the first biggest event in 2018 when the masses of our people descend to East London to celebrate this glorious movement,” said Ngcukayitobi.
“On January 13 we are going to paint Buffalo City black, green and yellow as we have done so already in posters across the city and the province as part of our PR and marketing strategy to keep the enthusiasm going.”
The ANC has already placed banners in strategic entry and exit points in East London – such as the gigantic one located at the Abbotsford off-ramp and on-ramp to the N2.
The PEC, said Ngcukayitobi, would be meeting on January 4 to consolidate the work done in preparing for the event. The newly-elected ANC top six officials, who were meeting yesterday to discuss among other things the East London festivities, will arrive in the province on January 8 while the newly elected national executive committee will convene its first meeting in the city.
This will be ahead of the presidential fundraising gala dinner scheduled to be addressed by Ramaphosa at the East London ICC on the night before the big day.
Ngcukayitobi was pleased about the massive economic spin-offs the event would bring to the local economy, in particular to emerging businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. —