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Event provides hope – Saul

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‘The people in the Northern Cape know that the ANC is the only hope for the realisation of their aspirations as it has been for the past 107 years.’

AMIDST the partially empty stands at Tafel Lager Park stadium, the ANC in the Province expressed its satisfaction with Saturday’s 108th birthday bash in Kimberley.

All roads led to Kimberley as thousands of ANC members and supporters flocked to the city to be part of the festivities, with the highlight being President Cyril Ramaphosa’s January 8th Statement.

Supporters from different provinces and regions were bused into Kimberley, while taxis brought still more to the stadium.

Many people in ANC regalia, however, also headed straight to the shopping malls and were seen roaming the malls before and during the event.

The main stands at the stadium meanwhile started filling to capacity before the event started.

Those present later moved down from the main stands to occupy the grass pitch about an hour before the event started.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who was the programme director, was heard instructing security guards and the police to allow more supporters to move up to the main stands.

National Executive Committee member Fikile Mbalula boasted that the stadium’s capacity had been exceeded.

“The open stands have the capacity to hold 15 000 people. We have an overflow as there are at least

25 000 people in the stadium today,” he said.

One of the supporters who were rushing into the stadium gate while the president was delivering his address was honest enough to say that she had wanted to “kill two birds with one stone” on Saturday.

She revealed that she and her companions hand all gone shopping at the local malls before the president’s address, as they come from a rural area and usually have to spend lots of money to travel to town.

Ramaphosa was once again hailed as a crowd favourite as he managed to walk through the stadium and greet his supporters before heading on to the stage.

This was amidst rumours of security risks after the president withdrew from scheduled events on Friday.

Ramaphosa was supposed to lead a morning walk and attend a golf tournament on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s rally.

ANC provincial chairperson Dr Zamani Saul expressed his desire that the 108th anniversary celebrations would provide hope in the midst of all the challenges that the Province and country are facing.

“The people in the Northern Cape know that the ANC is the only hope for the realisation of their aspirations as it has been for the past 107 years.

The people in the Northern Cape have faith in the ANC-led government to build a modern, growing and successful Province.

“Such a province provides economic opportunities and benefit for all. Our people, the sun, our land, our minerals and the endowment of the Vaal and Orange rivers provide extraordinary opportunities for growing our economy,” said Saul.

The birthday bash also saw entrepreneurs put up stalls to sell different types of regalia at different venues throughout the week.

Entrepreneurs, however, shared different views with regards to their gains of setting up at the event.

One entrepreneur, Agrinette Kgotsane, said she was not very impressed by the attitude of attendees, who constantly haggled and “set their own prices” for items.

Kgotsane, who hails from Johannesburg, arrived in Kimberley at around 1am on Saturday to set up her stall to sell various ANC regalia at the event.

She said that although the profit she made was “better than nothing”, she was disappointed that the customers were not prepared to pay the required price for the items she was selling.

“You can see that some have got money but they do not want to pay the required price, buy when they go to the retail store they pay the exact money. They pay for what they see, but us they say it is too expensive. Our own people tend to forget that we are earning a living through this, have bills to pay and mouths to feed,” she said in a disappointed tone.

“They forget that the unemployment rate is so high and we are trying to do something about it. Our people are looking down on us,” she sighed.

On the other hand, Bonginkosi Nfulelo from Protea Glen was impressed with how much money his stall made.

He said the atmosphere was good and that he had sold 85% of his stock by the time the event finished.

He pointed out that it is better to always be ready to negotiate with potential customers.

“They do complain of high prices but we always meet each other halfway to benefit both parties,” he said.

A food vendor from Phokwane, Eunice Baganedi, revealed that she was part of a group of young people who had come to set up at the stadium.

Baganedi said they had come the night before to find just the right spot to set up their caravan.

She requested that in future timeous notices and the right notifications be provided by the event organisers in order to create a platform for more opportunities so that locals would stop complaining that people from outside are the ones who are benefiting.