ANC celebrates centenary and vows to rule “until Jesus comes”
South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) will be in power “until Jesus comes,” President Jacob Zuma said at the party’s 100th anniversary.
Tens of thousands of supporters packed the Bloemfontein Stadium on Sunday, the party’s birthplace, joining in celebration of the anti-apartheid movement.
President Zuma, who is also the party leader, lit a flame at the church in the central city where the party formed in 1912.
“The ANC, the child of Bloemfontein, the child conceived here in 1912, returns to its mother – older, stronger and wiser,” Zuma told supporters quoting president Nelson Mandela’s speech in February 1990 at an ANC anniversary rally in Bloemfontein. “Yes, this child is now older, wiser and indeed has achieved a lot and that is why we are celebrating his 100 years today,” he added.
Nelson Mandela, 93, who became the country’s first black president in 1994 was absent because of frail health.
The ANC celebrated signing up its one millionth member at the ceremony. The party has won a landslide victory in every election for the last 18 years.
Despite majority support, divisions within the party have emerged after the party sacked Youth League leader Julius Malema.
There are widespread protest related to poverty in South Africa where unemployment hovers around 36 – 70 per cent, and half of the country’s population lives on just 8 per cent of the national income, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions.