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Potchefstroom - The ANC continued to campaign ahead of by-elections in Tlokwe, North West, on Tuesday despite uncertainty about whether they would go ahead as planned.
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula and African National Congress Youth League convener Mzwandile Masina were campaigning in Ward 26
along with the party's candidate, Oupa Mogoshane.
Masina said the previous ward councillor, Butiki “Stone” Mahlabe, who used to be an ANC member, had failed to deliver services to people in the area for more than 15 years.
“What we 1/8the ANC 3/8 are trying to say to our people is that we brought them a councillor who is credible, who's going to take their demands and make sure we implement them at council,” he said, referring to Mogoshane.
“We are saying to our people that they must focus on the African National Congress.”
Masina accused Mahlabe of colluding with the Democratic Alliance to oust former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle, and said he would continue to collude with the opposition party.
He said an independent candidate could not make a difference because numbers were needed in the Tlokwe council.
Masina also accused Mahlabe of misleading the residents in Ward 26 by claiming he was a member of the ANC, but that people should vote for him as an independent.
“Independents have taken our organisation for granted, and we decided as national leaders we should come and clarify to our people.”
Masina, Mbalula and Mogoshane walked through the undeveloped informal settlement interacting with residents.
Many parts of the settlement were water-logged littered with used nappies and rubbish.
Speaking to residents outside a tuck-shop, Mogoshane explained the difference between an independent candidate an ANC member.
While the leaders were speaking, residents who support Mahlabe shouted “Oupa Mogoshane is useless”.
A group supporting Mahlabe came running towards the ANC leaders and supporters and booed.
A resident who gave his name only as “Prishman” said he would vote for the independent candidate.
He said Mahlabe was from the area and was in touch with the residents' needs.
“If we have a problem, Stone comes here. The ANC comes here now because they need people to vote for them,” he said.
He accused the ANC of running the party like a tuck-shop. “We are still suffering.”
Prishman said Mogoshane had previously been a councillor in another ward, where he had failed to deliver services.
“Again he is standing as a candidate. They (the ANC) are taking people for granted.”
A group of men standing with Prishman said they believed Mahlabe would win Wednesday's by-election.
By-elections are expected to take place in nine wards in Tlokwe on Wednesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein reserved judgment on an application to postpone the by-elections.
The court was hearing an application by five independent candidates who were disqualified from taking part in the by-elections by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Judge Kenneth Nthiyane said he realised the by-elections were scheduled to take place on Wednesday, and the court might give an order before then. Reasons for the order would be given at a later stage.
The wards, which were previously represented by the ANC, became vacant when the party expelled the councillors.
In July, the ANC expelled 14 councillors after its provincial disciplinary committee found them guilty on four counts of misconduct for participating in a motion of no confidence against Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle.
Maphetle was replaced by Democratic Alliance councillor Annette Combrink.
However, the ANC's national disciplinary committee overturned the expulsions.
Despite this, eight of the councillors registered as independent candidates for the by-elections.