Former South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka urged supporters of the Congress of the People (Cope) at a rally in Philippi on Saturday (21/03/2009) not to take action when rival political parties intimidated them.
“People disagreeing politically are not enemies but just opponents. Whatever the people of the big party [referring to the ANC] say to you [Cope supporters], just tell them we are going to meet on election day,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka, who made her first appearance as a Cope member in early March after months of speculation that she would leave the ANC ahead of general elections slated for April 22.
“It is not important to fight with them. All we want to do is beat them during the elections and we are going to do that,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Mlambo-Ngcuka’s comments came after a group of ANC supporters chanted and sang anti Cope songs outside the venue of the meeting, Intsebenziswano Senior Secondary School in Philippi.
Residents wearing ANC t-shirts with “Zuma 100%” emblazoned on them were barred from attending the meeting.
Meanwhile, Cope supporters were not allowed to leave the school hall once they had entered.
At one stage there was an exchange of words between security guards, the ANC and Cope supporters.
In other comments, the former deputy president outlined the need for communities to start small businesses and for mass participation in the economy, especially by young people.
She said she believed something needed to be done to interact with graduates who were finding it difficult to find jobs, but added that “urgent attention” was also needed to address the plight of young people who were unskilled or semi-skilled. — West Cape News