The ANC has moved to explain the absence of president Jacob Zuma’s picture on its voter registration posters.
Campaign posters are already dotted all over South Africa’s cities – on power boxes, taxi ranks and street light poles – as political parties step up electioneering ahead of voting day, set for August.
The final voter registration drive before this year’s local government elections will be held on the weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April.
In a recent opinion piece that featured in the Daily Maverick, Ian von Memerty, noted that for the first time in 22 years, the ANC’s voting registration poster is faceless.
“Obviously, this is because the face that does lead their party is likely to be a liability at the polls later in the year.
“Even when their poster was designed back in January/February, long before the current Zupta debacle, there was obviously uncertainty about whether JZ was going to be around to lead them into an election. And if he is still around – how much damage will he do to the party if he is featured,” Von Memerty said.
In Contrast, both rival political parties, the EFF and DA posters contain the face their respective leaders, Julius Malema, and Mmusi Maimane.
The IOL’s Daily News questioned the absence of president Zuma’s face on the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal voter registration posters.
It reported that the latest batch of ANC posters for the April voter registration contains the faces of celebrities including Maskandi musician Phuzekhemisi, gospel performer Hlengiwe Mhlaba, DJ Merlon and others holding identity documents.
Voter registration posters for March’s registration drive had the face of KZN provincial chairman, Sihle Zikalala, and celebrities, but none of Zuma.
Similarly, registration posters in Guateng and Tshwane do not have the president’s face.
ANC provincial spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said there has been different set of posters for the three phases of the ANC’s election campaign.
He said one generic poster did not have a face of anybody, and there were posters with Zikalala and celebrities for the March voter registration
Ntuli told IOL that posters with Zuma’s face and celebrities formed part of the April election phase. Batches of Zuma posters had been sent to regions for distribution.
The ANC said that its elections campaign will get underway immediately after the launch of its ANC Manifesto taking place in Port Elizabeth, on 16 April 2016.