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All roads lead to PE as ANC prepares for election manifesto launch

This morning the ANC is expected to issue a brief update on its state of readiness for the manifesto launch.

FILE: The ANC declared 2016 as the year of advancing people's power at the January 8 statement in Rustenburg.

PORT ELIZABETH - All roads lead to Port Elizabeth this morning where the African National Congress (ANC)'s top leaders will wrap up door-to-door campaigns ahead of their local government election manifesto launch tomorrow.

The ANC's election campaign is in full swing in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the party's leaders have been trying to woo voters by praising newly appointed mayor Danny Jordaan.

Nelson Mandela Bay is expected to be one of the country's most hotly contested metros in the local government polls in August.

This week, the ANC's leadership has been rallying for votes in the Eastern Cape, where the governing party will face tough opposition from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the United Front.

But opposition parties have held simultaneous election campaigns in the Eastern Cape this week in a bid to counter the ANC's top leadership visiting the province.

This morning the ANC is expected to issue a brief update on its state of readiness for the manifesto launch.

Its leaders will also report back on their engagements with Eastern Cape communities this week.

MANIFESTO LAUNCH TOMORROW

President Jacob Zuma will launch his party's election manifesto in Port Elizabeth tomorrow amid much fanfare, and with the backing of most of the party's provincial committees.

ANC branches in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape have broken ranks, joining a chorus of voices saying that Zuma should step down.

The president has come under fire for breaching the Constitution in his handling of the costly Nkandla saga.

But the ANC's national leadership has accepted his apology and are continuing to back him as the face of their local government election campaign.

ANC heavyweights in outfits of green, black and gold have been drumming up support in Nelson Mandela Bay, one of the hotly contested battlegrounds for August's local government elections.

In the 2011 municipal poll, the ANC got just under 52 percent of the vote to win control of the Eastern Cape Metro, but the DA's campaign is in full swing.

ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize said the party doesn't take voters for granted.

"We have to convince everybody about the relevance of the ANC, its policies and accept the mistakes."

He said while some people may be unhappy with Zuma's leadership, the ANC has to be careful about taking decisions that could destabilise it ahead of the elections.

Mkhize said the ANC's national leaders have been speaking to various structures about the party's position.

"I ran a whole cadres forum meeting in the OR Tambo region and the Secretary-General was running one in Buffalo City municipality. There are lots of these meetings going on as we speak."

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