All aboard for East Cape showdown

Whether it is aboard the Manxadanxada Airlines or the Soweto Train, hundreds of ANC members from around the Eastern Cape will be heading to East London at the end of the month for the anticipated political showdown.

At the provincial elective conference, about 500 delegates will choose the ANC’s next chairman, secretary and three other provincial leaders.

The race for the coveted chairmanship is, in the main, expected to be between current chairman Phumulo Masualle and secretary Oscar Mabuyane, and supporters of the two have rallied behind their preferred leaders.

Social media has been abuzz with memes, phrases and friendly banter about “Manxadanxada Airlines” – linked to the Masualle brigade – and “Soweto Train”, associated with Mabuyane’s bid for the chairmanship.

Adopted from Masualle’s Operation Masiphathisane, which was aimed at establishing war rooms that would bring services to people, campaign managers have linked the term “Manxadanxada” to an airline which means “we are busy and we have no limits”.

Meanwhile, head of public relations for Mabuyane’s campaign Michelle Meth said the “Soweto Train” branding was in line with the kind of leader that Mabuyane is.

“Growing up we liked to say he was a person of Soweto, and when we sat down to discuss which mode of transport best described him, we knew that it’s a train, because not only are trains affordable to everyone but you can also count on them,” Meth said.

She said this was evident in Mabuyane’s accessibility as a leader.

“We know that he is a people’s person, he is reliable and he is approachable – the Soweto train is a mode of transport that drives on ground, and has unlimited space for everyone who jumps on,” Meth said.

Meanwhile, on social media, supporters have upped the ante on banter over whose campaign is gaining more traction.

Some of the posts included a train that had derailed, posted by a member of the Masualle campaign team, and a helicopter made of straw – signalling an aircraft that will never talk off, posted by a Mabuyane supporter.

Meth said while it might appear that there were tensions between the two groups, it was merely conference fever.

Amathole regional secretary Teris Ntutu, who is on Masualle’s campaign coordinating team, would not be drawn on the thinking around Manxadanxada, but said Masualle represented stability.

He said Masualle must be given space to continue and fully implement his vision.

“Masualle is not a flamboyant person, he is a communist by nature – he has never been associated with stealing from the poor and that is important.

“Masualle is a humble man and he embraces everyone,” Ntutu said.

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