THE Western Cape needs to be "reintegrated" into South Africa and must not continue on its path toward a white "volkstaat", said the African National Congress (ANC) in the province, as it began implementing a fresh campaign to gain support.
Speaking during a press briefing on the outcomes of the provincial lekgotla held at the weekend, ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said on Monday the party stood united. It was ready to lead its supporters in a mobilisation to defeat the DA’s "racist, backward, divisive agenda".
"We want to take the Western Cape street by street, township by township, village by village and town by town," he said.
The party accused Democratic Alliance (DA) leader and Premier Helen Zille of deliberately excluding blacks and women from top positions in the provincial government. It questioned why the number of voters in "rich white areas in the province … had been significantly increasing over the years while the number of black voters in poorer areas was decreasing".
The ANC lost the Western Cape in 2009 when infighting divided the party in the province along racial lines. The party has been on a new drive to increase its membership.
On Monday, the ANC said it had increased its membership in the province between June and December last year from about 38,000 to 50,147. Mr Mjongile said the increase was probably because of a "last-minute rush" to recruit new members and renew old memberships ahead of the Mangaung national conference.
The party aimed to become the fourth-biggest ANC province in terms of numbers. It is looking to recruit 5,000 volunteers to help with community work and eventually its election campaign. Provincial leader Marius Fransman said on Monday the drive was already gathering momentum and about 500 people had signed up.
The party would officially launch the Volunteer Corps in April to coincide with the commemoration of the assassination of Chris Hani 20 years ago.
Mr Fransman said they had received enquiries from some "prominent" individuals, including analysts and writers, as well as from DA supporters.
DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer on Monday dismissed the ANC’s claims that the Western Cape provincial government was deliberately excluding blacks and women from top positions.
He said a Public Service Commission report released last year rated the office of the premier in the Western Cape as the best performing out of all nine provincial premiers’ offices in the country in terms of representivity.
Mr Meyer said the DA was in full election mode and expected to welcome some “influential ANC members” to the party. He said the DA aimed to win the province with 60% of the vote.