Home News Vote ANC, or face ancestral wrath: South Africa’s Zuma

Vote ANC, or face ancestral wrath: South Africa’s Zuma

Published on 14/05/2011

South African President Jacob Zuma has warned voters they risk sparking their ancestors' ire unless they choose the African National Congress party in elections next week.

“I’ve been telling people that if you once belonged to the ANC and you leave, the ancestors of the ANC will turn their back on you and you’ll have continuous bad luck,” he told a crowd late Friday ahead of municipal polls on Wednesday.

According to traditional beliefs, the spirits of the dead are capable of intervening in the living world, and it is therefore important for people to keep their ancestors happy.

The charismatic leader made a similar appeal in a separate rally in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area that includes Port Elizabeth, a key electoral battleground on the southern coast.

“The ancestors will be upset if Nelson Mandela Bay is lost because this is the home of the ANC,” Zuma told a crowd of 25,000 supporters.

His comments provoked a backlash from the small right-wing Freedom Front Plus (FF+) party, which lodged a complaint with the International Electoral Commission.

“We would like the IEC to judge on that and give us some indication (on whether) you can say that type of thing, because it unjustly influences voters,” said FF+ leader Pieter Mulder.

The ANC, which has dominated South African politics since the end of apartheid in 1994, is expected to sweep the elections.

However, inadequate public services in the townships and rural areas may dampen turnout, favouring the opposition.