#ANC106: All systems go, says Magashule
East London - It's all systems go for the ANC 106th birthday celebrations where party president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his first January 8 statement.
Buses with supporters from across the province are believed to have started arriving at the Absa stadium in East London from as early as 05:00. Ramaphosa and the top six embarked on what they call a pilgrimage to gather support for the party by visiting royal and community leaders in the Eastern Cape as well as KwaZulu-Natal in the days leading to the celebrations.
Ramaphosa enjoyed a narrow victory against his contender Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in December. He will deliver a statement which will focus on the key tasks of the party on the year ahead.
The speech is expected to be centred around fee-free education, the revitalisation of the economy and land reform.
During the ANC elective conference in December at Nasrec, Ramaphosa's detractors saved face when the party decided to resolve on their policies, namely Radical Economic Transformation and land expropriation without compensation.
The policies were Dlamini-Zuma's main engine driver during her campaign.
Reconnecting with communities
Ramaphosa seemed relax and at ease on Friday while attending an ANC golf day at East London Golf Club. He joked with journalists about Twitter memes regarding his sock choice during a recent jog at the beachfront in which he was compared to food franchise mascot Ronald McDonald.
Party Secretary General Ace Magashule told reporters during a briefing on Friday afternoon that it was a party resolution to reconnect with communities.
"In all these visits our intention is to reconnect the ANC with its rightful owners, the people of South Africa and to report to them on resolutions of the 54th national conference."
Magashule added that the national leadership on their tour of the Eastern Cape were received with love and warmth.
ANC members across the country were expected to descend to East London on Saturday, he said.
The small stadium which holds 16 000 will have two overflow areas at Jan Smuts Stadium and Buffalo Park, he added.
Earlier in the day, Eastern Cape chair Oscar Mabuyane said 70 000 people from the province alone had signed up in different wards to be transported by busses to the event on Saturday morning.
Ramaphosa is scheduled to deliver his address at 11:00.
The event will kick off with a parade led by the National Executive Committee at East London City Hall at 07:00 headed to the Absa stadium.
Dignitaries expected to attend include Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and ambassadors of the Brics nations and South America.