Cape minstrels join ANC celebration

With their bright colours, the minstrels have added their special brand of colour to today’s proceedings.

The Cape Town minstrels arriving at the stadium ahead of the ANC 103 birthday celebration on 10 January 2015. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town minstrels have joined African National Congress (ANC) supporters as they march to the Cape Town Stadium ahead of the birthday celebration.

Sporting their signature bright-coloured uniforms and twirling their umbrellas, the minstrels have added their special brand of colour to today's proceedings.

The young and old have filled the streets all seeming excited.

People from as far as Kimberley, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape have come out in their numbers.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma is expected to tell thousands of supporters the party's vision for the country.

Organisers have been working hard to fill the stadium's 52,000 seats after wrangling with the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led City of Cape Town over the conditions governing the stadium's use.

Zuma has spent the past week drumming up support for the event.

Party leaders have promised to fill the seats in the stadium before the president's address.

They have campaigned vigorously throughout the province to promote the ANC as a party more capable to serve the poor than the ruling DA.

The ruling party's head of organising, NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane, says there will be an overflow venue.

usloads of ANC supporters from other provinces, including the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga, will be rolling into Cape Town for the event.

Security in and around the venue is expected to be tight.

Earlier this week, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said the party will use its 103rd anniversary to reclaim the Freedom Charter.

SECURITY TIGHT

The ANC says it's satisfied with tight security arrangements for its enormous birthday rally.

National Executive Committee leader David Mahlobo, the Minister of State of Security, says law enforcement officers will be out in force.

"We can't disclose the numbers on our security personnel but we have strengthened the security services in the province as we have elevated our work to the national level."

Roads surrounding Cape Town Stadium closed at midnight and will only re-open at 7pm this evening.

The ruling party has paid for more than 1,000 taxis, 800 buses and a number of trains to ferry supporters to the venue.

Mahlobo says he expects the more than 60,000 supporters to be on their best behaviour.

"We are also very clear that no one is going to come to the stadium and make untoward behaviours because these are members of the ANC, they are always well-behaved."

The official programme gets underway at about 10:30am and is expected to end around 4pm this afternoon.