Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zuma to rally supporters for poll

The leader of the governing ANC party, Jacob Zuma is due to address a final pre-general election rally of up to 200,000 people later on Sunday.

Mr Zuma is expected to become president after Wednesday's poll, which is the most competitive since the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.

On Saturday, thousands attended a Cape Town meeting of the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

Leader Helen Zille aims to stop the ANC getting a two-thirds majority.

She told supporters: "Every vote counts in this election, every single vote, because your vote may be the one that keeps the ANC under that two thirds majority, and your vote - especially here in this stadium today - your vote may be the very one that wins the Western Cape for the DA."

The DA fears that if the ANC achieves the two-thirds majority, it might use it to change the constitution to influence the independence of the judicial system.

Ms Zille also made frequent reference to criminal charges of corruption and racketeering brought against Mr Zuma which he denies and which were dismissed earlier this month.

Biggest election

The ANC rally, in Johannesburg's Ellis Park, was due to begin on Sunday morning, with Mr Zuma expected to speak around lunchtime.

A breakaway party from the ANC - the Congress of the People - is also due to hold its final rally, in Limpopo province, before facing this first test of its support.

The latest opinion polls indicate it could get as much as 15% of the national vote.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) reports that more than 23 million people, including 16,000 of the South African diaspora, have registered to vote in what is being seen as the most important election since the end of apartheid istory.