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Potchefstroom - The ANC is ready for the Tlokwe by-elections despite some ward voting being postponed, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.
“Give them (independent candidates) a right and set a date, because they are delaying death,” he told party volunteers in Tlokwe - referring to former ANC members who had decided to register as independent candidates in the by-elections.
“I prefer to die quick then be sick for a long time and ultimately die.”
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 as mayor 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.
The Electoral Court in Bloemfontein ordered on Tuesday evening that five of the nine by-elections in Tlokwe be postponed.
This was after the court heard an application by five independent candidates who were disqualified from taking part in the by-elections by the Independent Electoral Commission.
A sixth by-election, in Ward 13, was earlier postponed after an out-of-court settlement.
Wards six, 18 and 26 would be contested on Wednesday.
Mantashe told volunteers on Tuesday they should not be discouraged that some of the by-elections had been postponed or that they had wasted their energy.
“Take to every ward so that voter turn out is high. We must win the wards to send a clear message. They give you the opportunity to use your energy for fewer wards,” he said.
Mantashe told volunteers to go to “all families” in the three wards and encourage them to vote for the ANC.
“Once we have the three wards we will have more councillors 1/8in the municipality 3/8.”
Mantashe said Tlokwe deserved better and the ANC was the party which had the responsibility to give the municipality better services than it had been receiving.
ANC leaders spent Tuesday campaigning in the area.
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, ANC Youth League convener Mzwandile Masina, former Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi and ANC North West chairman Supra Mahumapelo were among those campaigning.
Mantashe dispelled claims that the ANC had deployed national leadership to the area because it was worried it would lose control of Tlokwe.
“The ANC is everywhere. The ANC is here and there,” he said.
“We are not driven by fear, we are driven by hope... There is no fear whatsoever.”