The ANC in the Eastern Cape is hard at work preparing to host an estimated 100 000 of its supporters for the party’s 106th anniversary celebrations in East London on January 13.
This was said by ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi, who has been part of the preparations for the January 8 statement that will be delivered by newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, in his first public address as the new leader.
Ngcukayitobi said yesterday the ANC had prepared the Buffalo City Stadium, Jan Smuts Stadium and Buffalo Park for the annual event that would set the tone for the ANC next year.
Ramaphosa is due to speak at the main event at the Buffalo City Stadium, while Jan Smuts Stadium and Buffalo Park will be used as overflow venues, where supporters will watch the address on huge 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 main speech.
Ngcukayitobi said there was no holiday at the ANC provincial office, as marketing and public relations measures were in full swing to ensure that the province alone mobilised no fewer than 55 000 people.
The Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape had committed to bus in at least 10 000 supporters each to East London, he said.
The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) was going bigger than the previous anniversary celebrations that the party held in the Eastern Cape in 2009.
“As the Eastern Cape, we are ready to host South Africa in the first biggest event of 2018 when the masses of our people descend on East London to celebrate this glorious movement,” Ngcukayitobi said.
“Everything is going ahead as planned. On January 13, we are going to paint Buffalo City in black, green and yellow – as we have done already with posters across the city and the province as part of our marketing strategy to keep the enthusiasm going.”
The ANC has already placed banners at strategic entry points in East London, such as the gigantic one at the Abbotsford offramp to the N2.
The PEC would meet on Thursday to consolidate the preparations done, Ngcukayitobi said.
The newly elected ANC top six officials would arrive in the province on January 8 – while the new national executive committee would hold its first meeting in the city.
This will be before a presidential fundraising gala dinner, scheduled to be addressed by Ramaphosa at the East London ICC the night before the big day.
Ngcukayitobi is pleased about the massive economic spinoffs the event will bring to the region, in particular to emerging businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.