ANC poll victory in Zululand in the balance
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DURBAN - THE ANC’s chances of winning the Zululand District Municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal hangs in the balance after candidates in 12 wards were not registered for the local government elections.
ANC regional spokesperson Lawrence Dube said they were awaiting the outcome of the appeal lodged by the party in the Electoral Court. He said they handed in their list timeously. The ANC, he said, felt it was an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) system fault that was slow to capture the candidates list before the deadline.
The district, which comprises Abaqulusi (Vryheid), Ulundi, Nongoma, eDumbe (Paulpietersburg) and uPhongolo municipalities, has been elusive for the ANC since the local government elections in 1996.
Dube said the party wanted to contest in those wards. He said all five municipalities were affected.
“We did everything correctly from the region. Whatever may have happened was not because of our fault,” he said.
The ANC did well in Zululand in the last elections, winning uPhongolo and eDumbe municipalities, although with a small margin. The party snatched uPhongolo with 15 seats out of 29, but after losing a by-election which it had won in 2016, the opposition IFP was the majority, though the municipality was still under the ANC.
The ANC also governed eDumbe, with one seat, after it managed to collect eight seats while the opposition kept seven.
The ANC won Abaqulusi with 21 seats, but the IFP formed a coalition with smaller parties and managed to govern with 22 seats. The ANC snatched the ward from IFP after the by-election, to increase their seats to 22, which meant the party is the majority, but the IFP was still influential in the municipality.
In Nongoma Municipality, the ANC has 13 seats out of 42, and it has 11 seats in Ulundi out of 48. The number of seats obtained by parties in local municipalities are the ones that determine which party would govern the district.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party would outline the outcome of Monday’s Provincial Executive Committee meeting to the media on Tuesday (today).
The five municipalities are among 30 in which the party’s national leadership announced last week that its candidates were not registered. These discrepancies have since been taken to the Electoral Court in a bid for it to re-open the registration process.
Although the ANC has not publicly announced which municipalities were affected by the problem, reports suggest that many were in North West and Tshwane.
IEC provincial spokesperson Thabani Ngwira denied that the candidates were not captured because the IEC systems had experienced problems.
“We never had a problem in our capturing system. I do not know why there were candidates who were not registered,” said Ngwira.
Many parties were opposed to the ANC’s requests to be given a new opportunity to file its list of candidates. National Freedom Party secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe said they were waiting to see what the Electoral Court would do with the ANC’s request, after his party was denied an opportunity to take part in the 2016 local government elections because it failed to register candidates and pay the registration fee on time.