After reintroducing former leaders to boost their electoral prospects, the ANC and DA will ramp up their activities for the last week of campaigning before the elections, including the organisation of victory parties next weekend.
The EFF will also hold a rally at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, on Sunday, the same day as the ANC’s rally.
EFF leader Julius Malema has described the use of former leaders on the campaign trail last week by the DA and ANC as a “sign of desperation”.
The ANC in Gauteng recruited former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe to campaign for it, while the DA enlisted former party leader Tony Leon.
Malema’s five-year-old party, which will be taking part in its second general election next week, is without veterans of its own.
Malema says it will take at least 40 years for the EFF to have its own elders.
“We don’t want to be like other opposition parties who claim the veterans of other political organisations. We are too young to have a veteran, we will only have a veteran after 40 years of existence,” Malema told City Press last week on the sidelines of a community meeting in North West on Friday.
“But the bringing of veterans is a sign of desperation. It is a resurrection. They are not different from pastors who resurrect a person in a church, so we are not worried. It means we are shaking them. Why do you revive Tony Leon? How is Tony Leon going to help you when he couldn’t get 5% himself in 1994? How is Mbeki going to help them because he just went and signed the pledge, and went home.
"Mbeki didn’t do door-to-door. That is an elitist campaign. Mbeki did not even move around that Rand Show to greet at least the workers. How is he helping them except to come and sit on a couch? Ramaphosa is also not a threat. All research shows that the ANC is declining. The over-celebration of Ramaphosa is not bringing any results.”
The EFF has been the official opposition in North West since the 2014 polls.
Malema said the party was looking to take full control of the province but did not rule out the possibility of a coalition, should his party fail to muster the required electoral support.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the appearances by Leon last week were aimed at ensuring that the DA’s message of “a job in every home” was received by all.
“We are trying to secure every vote or maximise every vote from every demographic and every race so that the DA is victorious. We are comfortable that the DA is growing and we must ensure that all South Africans come through. It is not abnormal for Tony Leon to campaign, he did so in 2016 in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Maimane said.
The party leader said that even former leader Helen Zille had hit the campaign trail in the Western Cape, despite having earlier been banned from party activities after a protracted disciplinary hearing over her infamous tweets.
“She is speaking because she is finishing her term as premier and she is a DA premier, you can’t change that fact.”
While refusing to divulge what the party’s internal polls say about the DA’s electoral prospects, Maimane emphasised that the party would look to govern the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng after the May 8 elections.
The party walked off with 22% of the share of the vote in 2014.
In Gauteng, he said, the party was gearing up for a DA-led coalition centred on principles.
“We can’t say who we will be in coalition with because we haven’t decided, but our position is that we have an agenda for Gauteng and we will only enter into coalitions centred on principles and an agenda for change. You saw that the ANC is recruiting Malema, let them push that way.”
This is despite the DA governing in Tshwane and Johannesburg through the EFF vote in those councils.
“Local government is a different sphere of government, it is not ideological. It is about washing dishes and fixing roads and keeping the lights on, it is not ideology. When you get to provinces you are now discussing the ideology of healthcare and education. You must then ask what the principles that govern those things are.
“The ANC is recruiting the EFF so if they get together they can expropriate land without compensation. So in a national election we have to fight for the defence of section 25, for redistribution of land within the Constitution. Voters must know that,” added Maimane.
The ANC plans to end its campaign with a Siyanqoba rally at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday, by showcasing a display of unity despite ructions that continue to tear the party apart.
City Press understands that initially the ANC wanted to use the FNB Stadium near Soweto, but was told that the 94 736-capacity stadium had been booked for other activities.
The governing party has always held its final rallies at the FNB Stadium.
Secretary-general Ace Magashule said the final rally would present a rare opportunity for the party to unite warring factions and extend an olive branch to disgruntled members.
The governing party received a major boost last week when former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe announced their endorsement of the ANC in the May 8 general elections.
Magashule told City Press that the party has appealed to all ANC members, including disgruntled party members and former leaders, to be on the ground campaigning.