Newly elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is optimistic that supporters of the party will descend on the ABSA stadium in East London on Saturday in their thousands.

Ramaphosa said the signs are already there that the 106 celebrations will be a success.

The ANC President hosted the party’s leadership, members and friends of the organization at a fundraising gala dinner on Friday evening.  He welcomed supporters to the celebrations saying, “Tomorrow’s rally is already proving to be a very successful rally as we welcome our members from across the country.”

Throughout the week the party has been mobilizing communities to attend the celebrations, this feat that Ramaphosa says is part of “taking us back to our roots”.

“We want to retrace footsteps and footprints of our forebears in the form of our past leaders so that we draw important lessons from all the leaders who have come before us and who have made huge sacrifices for this country a part of the struggle for liberation… We are shaking the bones of our ancestors. We are giving flesh & giving spirit to the bones of those what have departed. We want to rekindle their spirits. As we visited their gravesite, we felt that we were on hallowed ground. A special moment for us.”

Ramaphosa says the celebrations will not only be for the ANC but also the people of South Africa.

“We have every reason to celebrate. We have kept an organization alive and kicking for 106 years. Being 106 doesn’t mean anything outside of our people being able to recollect what the ANC means to them and what the ANC has done over the 106 years. We celebrate a collective of lived experience and we must always remember that the ANC is not just a political party but a movement of the people of South Africa, which has been driven by the founding values of freedom, justice & equality.”

Meanwhile, Traffic volumes continue to rise in East London as thousands of people arrive to attend the main celebrations on Saturday. Buffalo City Metro officials have confirmed that the roads closer to ABSA stadium where the main celebrations are scheduled to take place will be closed.

More than 200 000 people are expected to attend the party’s birthday celebrations.

The East London Airport has been abuzz as African National Congress (ANC) members arrived in their numbers. Some who arrived early in the city say their main reason was to rest and explore the beauty of East London.

They say they are happy to be part of the event and are expecting Ramaphosa to preach the message of unity and anti-corruption in his speech.

The famous Oxford Street is getting busy by the day causing traffic delays. Motorists say they are forced to use alternative routes to get to their destinations. Traffic officers are also present to guard against any motorist that disobeys the rule of the road.

Although the town is busy and hotels are fully booked with guests, it is business as usual for the taxi industry.

Security is expected to be tight at the venue. Police, disaster management, traffic and law enforcement officials will be on high alert while emergency personnel will also be on standby.

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