Parties bus voters across South Africa to pack stadiums

Johannesburg   -   If there’s one thing the parties competing in next week’s South African general election don’t want to talk about, it’s bussing in supporters to fill out huge stadium rallies. If there’s one thing they all do, it’s bus in supporters to fill out huge stadium rallies -- often handing out snacks, drinks and T-shirts to encourage high turn outs for the cameras. Party spokespeople play this down, keen to give the impression that their leaders can draw spontaneous adoring crowds, but the vast fleets of buses are hard to miss.  And for South African voters, the long road trips, hand-outs and camaraderie have become part and parcel of campaigns.  Saturday’s events, just days before Wednesday’s vote, were no exception. “We mobilise by WhatsApp,” explained 37-year-old African National Congress (ANC) volunteer Myekeleni Mabaso, as crowds began to arrive at the huge 90,000-seat FNB Stadium for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s last giant rally.    The ANC, which has won every South African election since the first post-apartheid contest in 1994, runs a community chat group in Maboso’s district of Soweto, Ramaphosa’s home town and a party stronghold.

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