ANC wants to reconnect with the people - we are not an elitist organisation
And to close the gap‚ they have organised the People’s Assembly‚ Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula told journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday.
He was speaking to the media in his capacity as the NEC member responsible for the party’s campaigns.
This is the first rally organised by the party on the day of the SONA.
“It is our own endeavour not to become onlookers and entertain what opposition parties and everybody else does as though we don’t have a programme of action‚” said Mbalula.
He said the party is on a campaign to ensure that they are not ''an elitist organisation''.
“For years we have allowed all sorts of people to come and gather in Parliament‚ protest and do all what they do. All we [did]‚ because we are a ruling party‚ was to put on our nice suits and lock ourselves inside and leave our people outside‚” said Mbalula.
He said after this week‚ the party would be requiring its public representatives to dedicate three days of their time every month to interact with people and help solve their problems.
But he said the party’s drive to get in touch with “their people” is not in response to pressure by opposition parties.
Mbalula said Zuma is not scheduled to address the assembly but would come for a meet and greet after delivering his speech.
All the party’s NEC members who are not members of Parliament are expected to attend the assembly‚ which will be held at the Grand Parade - the historic site where Nelson Mandela gave his speech after his 27-year incarceration. “To us‚ the people’s assembly is about radical economic change. The ANC has decided that Parliament and all institutions of the state are not going to be isolated ivory towers. They must be accompanied by a rigorous‚ visible that takes the people along in all what we do‚” he said.
On the day‚ entertainment and speeches by party leaders are expected in the lead up to a live crossing to Zuma’s speech.
Asked if the ANC was mobilising its support because of their big loss in last year’s local government elections‚ Mbalula said the move was about being in touch with their people.
“If we open the social distance and we are not in touch with them‚ they will be fed lies and the untruths about what this government does. We can’t blame it on anyone except ourselves if we are misinterpreted in what we do‚” he said
Mbalula said the assembly was about radical economic transformation where the party will be communicating its “12 urgent tasks” which include return of land‚ free education and ownership of the financial services sector.