ANC holds final rally to defend solo rule

May 26, 2024
President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during the ANC's last rally at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on May 25, 2024. — AFP

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s ruling African National Congress staged its last major stadium rally Saturday ahead of next week’s general election as it fights to protect its unbeaten streak of post-apartheid victories.


President Cyril Ramaphosa’s party summoned the faithful and bussed in the undecided to fill more than two-thirds of the 90,000-seat FNB stadium between Johannesburg and Soweto and give his re-election bid some buzz.

“We will do more and we will do better,” the 71-year-old millionaire former businessman told the crowd, branding the ANC “the only political party in the whole of South Africa that can bring so many people together in one place”.

“We gather here carrying together the hopes and aspirations of millions,” he said. “Our people will decide whether our country continues to move forward with the ANC to a brighter future or turns back to a terrible past.”

The president won occasional cheers as he pledged not to scrap black economic empowerment programmes and suggested a possible raise in grant money for the poor.

But the crowd was already thinning markedly when musical entertainment gave way to his hour-long speech.