The ANC is trying to determine why less than half of the anticipated 100,000 people attended its election manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
The ANC’s national election team, led by Nomvula Mokonyane, was expected to meet party leaders in the Eastern Cape and organisers of the manifesto launch to find out the reasons for the poor attendance.
The 46,000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was two-thirds full for the official start of the ANC’s local government election campaign on Saturday. The ANC had claimed that more than 100,000 people would attend.
Some ANC supporters chose to stay outside the stadium and socialise with other party supporters. Others reportedly went to the beach, instead of listening to President Jacob Zuma.
ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane told the Daily Dispatch that the party knew of members who went “to go and swim and enjoy themselves at the beach”.
The ANC had said transport was one of the main issues affecting the attendance numbers.
Mokonyane told News24 on Monday that the province was going to meet first and compile a report, before holding talks with the national elections team.
She was not too worried about the low attendance at the event.
“I’m happy, because even though we didn’t have the 100,000, by the end of the rally the police counted more than 47,000 people inside the stadium. You also had the whole programme broadcast live, so the message has been conveyed.”
She said it was concerning that some people waited for transport to the stadium until 14:30 on Saturday. This was what they were told when they went to speak to people in the townships around Port Elizabeth.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party had to ensure it did not happen again.
“We can’t change what happened over the weekend, but we need to plan better next time. The weekend was a start of a campaign, so we don’t need such problems with transport again.”
Party members and supporters had been left waiting at bus stops and were angry – and the party had to accept responsibility for what had happened, he said.
“We can only apologise to them.”