The deputy president told a gathering in Atteridgeville that the ANC would retain one of the powerful metros in the country.

The ANC took its election campaign to Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, where residents protested against the ANC’s choice of Thoko Didiza as Tshwane mayoral candidate. The party yesterday dispatched its big guns, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, to Tshwane.

This comes as there are fears that the ANC could be booted out of Tshwane – one of the powerful metros in the country – after the local government elections. Ramaphosa told ANC supporters the party would never be defeated by another political party.

“Tshwane belongs to the ANC,” Ramaphosa said at a public meeting.

“We will never allow Tshwane to be in the hands of the DA.”

He vowed that the ANC would retain Tshwane whether others liked it or not. Ramaphosa was flanked by some ANC heavyweights, including Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, the outgoing Tshwane mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa and Didiza.

He blamed the protests in Tshwane and surrounding areas to misunderstanding among people.

“Now, everybody, understand that with leadership you take the baton, you hand it over to someone,” Ramaphosa said.

“The baton is now being handed over to Thoko Didiza.”

“Everyone knows and should know that we are deployed.

“We don’t place ourselves in positions.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC wanted to redress the terrible damage done by Apartheid in the country. The deputy president said it was humbling when older people got sense that the ANC was responding to their needs.

“For us as the ANC our existence has always revolved around making our people’s lives better than what it is,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the suffering in terrible conditions that ANC leaders saw during the campaign at times brought him to tears.

“They deserve a better life,” he said.

The crowd – young and old – cheered when Ramaphosa revealed Ramokgopa would be deployed somewhere so he could continue with the “good work”.