Zuma met with rapturous welcome at FNB Stadium
President Jacob Zuma received a rapturous welcome as he entered the FNB Stadium in Soweto where the ANC in Gauteng is holding its local government election manifesto launch.
The rousing welcome was in contrast to the reception he received at the stadium in 2013 when he was booed while attending a memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.
Proceedings at the stadium were delayed by a few hours as ANC supporters were still streaming into the stadium at around 2pm.
Some said the event was due to get under way at 10 am‚ while others said it was only due to officially start at 11am. Proceedings eventually only got under way at around 2.30pm.
"Please bear with us‚" he implored the large crowd. An ANC official apologised earlier for the delay‚ saying some 15‚000 supporters were still outside the stadium and that many of the buses ferrying supporters to the launch had been dropping them off too far from the stadium. Gauteng premier David Makhuru was confident that the party would fill the 94‚000-seater stadium.
“80‚128 people are inside the stadium. We have 15‚000 outside the stadium‚” he tweeted at around lunchtime .
Almost an hour after the official programme was meant to start‚ the stadium was less than half-full.
The programme was meant to start at 11am but buses ferrying supporters to the Gauteng rally were said to still be making their way to the stadium.
Those already in the stadium were led in song by local actor Meshack Mavuso.
The ANC battled to fill the 46‚000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay stadium at its national manifesto launch in April.
The battle of the manifesto rallies heated up when the Economic Freedom Fighters boasted that it was the only party to fill the Orlando Stadium to capacity when it launched its manifesto in April‚ with a 40‚000-strong crowd in attendance.