ANC plans mass party in Johannesburg

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pretoria - Having received more than 10 million out of the 15 million votes counted thus far, the African National Congress (ANC) says it is keeping the champagne on ice.

A large celebratory party is expected this evening in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg. Hundreds and thousands of ANC members and supporters of presidential candidate Jacob Zuma are expected to descend on the venue.

Supporters are expected to come in droves from across the province.

ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte told BuaNews by the time the event kicks off most of the votes would have been counted.

"By that time nearly 90 percent of the results will be counted. It is traditional that it happens and we still holding the majority so everyone will celebrate," she said.

While she could not confirm if Mr Zuma would address the masses later tonight, she said he would be addressing South Africans once the results are officially announced.

"We will have a press briefing too."

ANC supporters have been celebrating since last night, where the intersection between President Street and Sauer street in Johannesburg's city centre was transformed into a stage.

Mr Zuma, wearing a black jacket with the party's green and yellow colours sang along with the masses.

He thanked the crowd for their support, saying they had fought and won the good fight before singing a song about struggling through difficulties.

Marshals had their hands full as screaming supporters tried to push their way to the front to see Mr Zuma.

Regarding the party achieving a two thirds majority, Ms Duarte said the ANC was pleased with their progress.

"The party has had two thirds majority for a number of years. However, for this one, we really thank South Africans for going out in their millions to vote for the ANC. The people have spoken, that if you vote for the ANC, you vote for the future of the country."

She said the party would now, together with the people, work to create a better life for all.

By Friday afternoon, the ANC was leading in eight provinces, except for the hotly contested Western Cape where the DA was leading.

The ANC also came out tops in Inkandla, KwaZulu Natal where Mr Zuma was born and grew up, however, Ms Duarte said it was not this district alone which had won the ANC the province.

KwaZulu-Natal used to be an Inkatha Freedom Party stronghold, however it only has received 23.05 percent of the votes.

"Its very important that there has been a change in that province. We welcome this," said Ms Duarte.

"There has been a big shift and its good, its good for the province, its good for the democracy pf this country," she said.