'ANC manifesto won't be radically different'

Jacob Zuma will launch the party's election manifesto on 11 January in Mbombela.

President Jacob Zuma will launch the ANC's election manifesto on 11 January. Picture:www.anclive.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) leaders are expected to spend much of today speaking to Mpumalanga residents to ensure there's a packed stadium for President Jacob Zuma's speech on Saturday when he launches the party's election manifesto.

The ANC will also celebrate its 102nd birthday.

The ruling party's milestone comes ahead of what's expected to be the most fiercely contested elections since the birth of South Africa's democracy.

Already, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has said this manifesto is unlikely to be radically different from the 2009 manifesto.

The party's Lindiwe Zulu echoed Mantashe's sentiments and said although there will be some tweaking, the manifesto won't be radically different from previous ones.

"After 20 years of democracy you would think we are standing on our own two feet. We aren't teenagers anymore, we know exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done because of the experience that we have had."

Meanwhile, the ANC earlier confirmed to a foreign press agency that President Zuma had indeed said the ANC would rule forever whether people liked it or not.

Zuma made the comments during a door-to-door campaign yesterday in Mpumalanga, saying those who thought the ANC would lose votes this year were dreaming.

"We will continue to run this government forever and ever, whether they like it or not."

He reportedly made the statement in isiZulu at the Kanyamazane township.

Opposition parties have already slammed him for these remarks.

Zuma has made several controversial comments in the past.

He has said before that the ANC "would rule until Jesus comes".

After that controversy, he said the party would rule until "you know when".

His supporters are likely to argue that he was simply making the point that the ruling party will win these elections even though some people wish it wouldn't.

Last year, Zuma was in hot water after making claims about Africa and Malawi.

"We can't think like Africans in Africa generally, we're in Johannesburg," he said.

He has also been quoted as saying that only white people keep dogs as pets.