Durban — The ANC in Newcastle on the north-west of KwaZulu-Natal has called on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Bongi Sithole to investigate allegations of bribery by the IFP following the resignation of its four ward councillors in the Newcastle Local Municipality.
The party said it has received rumours that the four were paid R200 000 each by the IFP to resign so that there would be by-elections in their wards. The party also wanted the MEC to investigate what it termed “mysterious” employment in the IFP-led municipalities.
ANC regional spokesperson Sikhumbuzo Shabangu told the Daily News on Monday that although the party had no evidence to back claims, it was suspicious that two of their councillors had already found jobs in the IFP-led municipalities.
“We are going to write to Cogta and ask for an investigation into allegations. We have not seen advertisements of the jobs they have been employed in so we want Cogta MEC to investigate bribery and how they were employed,” said Shabangu.
The IFP dismissed bribery allegations as baseless, saying it has been a long-standing and unfounded accusation by the ANC, and yet it has never provided a single shred of proof.
The party’s national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the ANC is being rejected left, right, and centre for its continued failure and collapse of the country.
“The IFP does not engage in corrupt behaviour of bribing people like the ANC. As the IFP, we reject these desperate and baseless allegations,” said Hlengwa.
Weighing in on the matter political analyst Thobani Zikalala said although there is no evidence, the ANC’s suspicion was understandable because it leaves a lot of questions when a councillor of the opposition would resign and be employed by a rival led-municipality.
On a political side, Zikalala said the resignations were a problem for the ANC which was trying by all means to counter the emergence of the former president Jacob Zuma-backed Umkhonto weSizwe Party.
If the IFP wins all four wards it would govern the 67-seat municipality without the Team Sugar party which was said to have fallen out of favour with. Besides bribery claims, the ANC has also blamed its selection criteria of councillors which it said was “too democratic” and people abused it, citing the party’s selection criteria which involved community members who are non-ANC members.
Shabangu said the involvement of community members who are not ANC members meant that a non-member of the ANC could be selected and that person may not be passionate about delivering services to people but wanted a job as a councillor.
He said the ANC was “too democratic” and that sometimes results in such problems where a community may select a person who may not be having qualities to be councillor but just because the candidate was popular among the community, the ANC could not say no.
“We are concerned and suspect the communities of the wards may have chosen the wrong people who had no interest in serving the communities but their self-interest. Although they were all ANC members, if the party had its way maybe it could have not chosen these ones,” said Shabangu.
In choosing a councillor candidate for the ANC, the ward branch meets and selects three people who are then taken to the community to vote for one candidate. Shabangu said this process strips the ANC’s powers of choosing a candidate.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the party would announce its decision on the resigned councillors. In the 2021 local government elections, the ANC lost the municipality to a coalition government which was led by the IFP – assisted by parties like the DA, ActionSA, FF Plus, ATM and PA. On the other hand, the NFP and EFF are the only two parties that work with the ANC.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.