ANC cancels January 8 birthday bash

21 December 2020 - 15:33 By kgothatso madisa
The ANC has cancelled its birthday celebrations set to be held on January 8 2021.
The ANC has cancelled its birthday celebrations set to be held on January 8 2021.

The ANC has cancelled its planned 109th birthday bash, which was due to be held in Limpopo in January.

This comes after the party’s top six officials received a briefing from health minister Zweli Mkhize on the Covid-19 second wave of infections.

The ANC last week controversially decided to go ahead with its January 8 celebrations, despite surging Covid-19 cases in SA.

The party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte on Monday wrote to the national executive committee (NEC) members informing them of the decision to cancel the annual rally.

The party was to host its supporters in various celebrations with the main event in Limpopo, where President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to deliver the January 8 statement.

Duarte had earlier defended the decision, telling the Sunday Times that the party would not be holding any rallies as per usual and that only 100 people would be allowed into the venue in Seleteng at Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo.

“Dear comrades, please be advised that after the national officials received a briefing this morning from comrade Zwelini Mkhize, and are concerned with the rapid proliferation of infections countrywide, the prognosis is not good,” Duarte wrote to NEC members.

“The national officials have taken a decision to cancel all January 8 celebrations countrywide.”

She said Ramaphosa would still deliver the January 8 statement, but this would be done digitally.

Duarte said as a leader of society the ANC had to lead by example.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the top six officials unanimously agreed that it was untimely to forge ahead with the celebrations given the “aggressive nature of the pandemic”.

“As the leader of society, ANC believes it would not be responsible to continue with any celebrations where people gather, albeit in smaller groups and small numbers,” Mabe said. “For this reason and in the interest of saving lives, the officials of the ANC have decided that all January 8 celebrations be cancelled,” said Mabe.

“Plans are already under way to ensure that mainstream media houses as well as community media have direct access to the address. The NEC will have a virtual meeting on January 6 to finalise the content of the statement. The officials have agreed that Limpopo will host January 8 in 2022.”

The Sunday Times reported the party does not have a good record when it comes to crowd control. It had to issue an apology in August when more than 200 people flocked to the funeral service of party veteran Andrew Mlangeni. Regulations at that time allowed only 50 people to attend a funeral.

January 8 celebrations are known to attract a large crowd of party members, supporters and onlookers, who want a glimpse of party leaders.