The ANC had begun its campaign to win the upcoming elections to ensure South Africa remained “in good, caring hands”, ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

Elections were a crucial point in the life of a democracy, Zuma told an assembly of a few thousand ANC cadres at the Pretoria Show Grounds.

The party had begun a journey to campaign and win the elections “to ensure [that] South Africa remains in good caring hands”.

“We’re here to prepare ourselves, to prove many critics wrong that have a lot to say whether the ANC will win, will increase [their] percentage,” Zuma told the assembly which included Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa.

He said elections gave political parties an opportunity to go back to the masses and account to them, after which they would then ask the people to vote for them.

He said this also afforded people the opportunity to make their own choices.

“Elections… it’s a matter of convincing people, to come to them , it is a crucial point in the life of a democratic society. Elections are very important. After elections you know where you stand.

“Power and authority in the hands of people is crucial for the life of a democracy,” he said.

He however called on the party to work harder in order to move forward. “…We need to gather our forces… the ANC as the leader of the alliance has to be more organised,” he said stressing that the alliance also needed to be “totally united”.