Fallout over ANC councillor candidates list widens as disgruntled members threaten sit-in
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Durban - The fallout over alleged manipulation of the process to nominate candidates to stand as ANC councillors in the upcoming local government elections is widening as more members are coming out to demand a re-run.
The ructions over the matter started on Monday as some members protested outside the Moses Mabhida stadium to voice their anger and demanded that the lists be amended to accommodate their favourite candidates who were allegedly cheated during the nomination process.
Apart from the troubles in KwaZulu-Natal, there were reports that the party in the Eastern Cape had experienced similar challenges, but provincial chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane, said all those who made it to the list through dubious means would be removed.
On Tuesday, about 500 disgruntled members of the party from various wards in the eThekwini region stormed the provincial headquarters in Durban to demand that the process should be started from scratch.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics
Chief among their grievances was that some of the community meetings were manipulated to favour certain candidates, some ward meetings were not convened, yet certain names were submitted to the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission), and some candidates are not from the wards where they would stand for elections from.
Worse still, some of the members alleged that the community nominated certain candidates with a huge majority, but presiding officers assigned by the ANC in the province allegedly changed the names and replaced them with those of their friends.
One of the people who took part in the march, Bishop Sandile Ndlela, said in his ward, Ward 43 in Ntuzuma township in the north of Durban, the process was not fair as one of the contenders for the position brought in armed bodyguards to intimidate them.
For that, Ndlela mobilised members to go to the provincial headquarters to stage an indefinite sit-in if their grievances are not addressed.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics
“Comrades who are here are from different wards, they are here to complain about elections and candidate lists. In some wards, there was vote-rigging, and there was fraud. In some wards, councillors came to meetings with rifles. You can’t vote freely if someone is carrying a rifle. That is intimidation. The ANC must go back to the branches to listen to the grievances and address them. If they don’t do that, we will stage a peaceful sit-in until the issues are resolved,” Ndlela said.
It was not clear whether the sit-in was staged, as by 5pm yesterday, the members were still picketing outside the offices.
Lindani Sicwala, a senior ANC member in the region, who is known for supporting former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and former president Jacob Zuma, was also present.
Sicwala said they want the process to nominate candidates for the elections to start afresh because there were several irregularities. He claimed that the provincial leadership of the party, led by provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, cheated them by keeping them waiting until 9pm on Monday and submitted the list to the IEC despite that they had objections.
“Comrades, our main focus as we are here right now, we are asking for the process to appoint councillors (candidates) to be conducted in a fair manner. The previous process must be abolished then start afresh, and we want the people we voted for in wards to be the ones who are councillors.
“Two, comrades, we want the issue of top ten PR (proportional representatives) councillors to be resolved. We know comrades that you don’t tamper with the list of top ten PR councillors,” Sicwala said.
The top ten list of PR councillors are usually occupied by people the ANC intends to appoint as mayor, deputy mayor, speaker, chief whip and chairpersons of cluster committees.
ANC KZN spokesperson, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, on Tuesday said they met with the disgruntled members, and their appeals would be attended by a team of officials from the provincial offices following guidelines and timelines of the party.