Durban - The infighting ravaging the ANC in eThekwini looks set to harm the party in the region, with some disgruntled councillors opting to contest the August 3 local government election as independent candidates.
Councillors in the INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu) area appear to be leading the “rebellion”. Four KwaMashu councillors are reliably understood to have registered for the election as independent candidates. They are Vincent Kunju, David Dumisani Mabizela, Jacob Bheka Sosibo and Bongumusa Dudla. Others, The Mercury has been told, were removed from the voters roll and therefore could not stand for re-election.
Several ANC officials, who all requested anonymity, told The Mercury on Thursday that the party was under siege from disgruntled candidates who had been “unfairly” ousted.
Almost every one of eThekwini’s 110 wards will have independent candidates contesting the election.
“There are too many people contesting independently. It’s unprecedented; almost all the wards have an independent candidate. These are serious ANC loyalists. This says the ANC is in a leadership crisis - people are seeking alternative options,” said an official who asked not to be identified.
He added that the independents were vowing to vote against the ANC if they were successful on August 3.
He said other aggrieved ANC members had opted to join opposition parties, with the EFF benefiting the most.
There were protests in Johannesburg and Cape Town following the release of a list of ANC candidates to contest the elections.
About 200 disgruntled members protested outside the party’s headquarters, Luthuli House, on Thursday, unhappy with the party’s procedure in selecting candidates.
In Cape Town, police were called into the Western Cape ANC’s Sahara House headquarters after members allegedly held party officials hostage. ANC members stormed the party’s offices on Wednesday, hours before the deadline for candidate lists to be handed in to the IEC ahead of the local government election.
Thabani Ngwira, an IEC spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal, said there would be an audit of the lists submitted on Thursday.
“You’ll find that some candidates have outstanding documents and have to submit those. We closed today. We’ll be doing this audit until June 20, I think. After all these requirements are met, the lists will be finalised and published.”
He said he could not comment on the number of independent candidates. “It is too soon to say. The list submission just closed at 5pm. We might only have a clear indicate by tomorrow (Friday).”
Another source said: “In (ward 11) Newlands West, I can tell you that the person who was first on the list has been replaced by someone who was second behind him. Why? Factionalism.”
Political analyst Bheki Mngomenzuli said the practice was not unique to the ANC, and that it affected all parties. “I had a radio interview about an hour ago. Mr Ngwenya from the IEC explicitly stated that the number of independent candidates and new parties was on a sharp increase - it is dramatic this year.”
He said there was obvious dissatisfaction in the eThekwini ANC, which had led to crippling factions. “We are hearing people are being shot and killed; There is obviously no unity. If this happens, people choose to join other parties, but if they feel there is no party they can join and call home, they contest independently.”
The Mercury could not reach ANC eThekwini secretary Bheki Ntuli last night and he had not responded to an SMS sent to him at the time of publication.
However, provincial party spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli told The Mercury this week that the party was satisfied with the ward candidate nomination process and would meet independent candidates at the polls.
SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said: “We know there are a number of candidates who were preferred by the community but who have been sidelined. We have received reports of people who are opting to contest independently, but we haven’t received an official confirmation.”
IEC timetable of key dates and deadlines
* June 10: Applications for special votes open.
* June 13: The IEC will notify parties and independent nominators of non-compliance, such as outstanding candidate documents.
* June 20: The cut-off date for parties to submit outstanding PR candidate documents and for the parties and the independent nominator to submit outstanding ward candidate documents.
* June 22: The IEC will notify parties and independent nominator of candidates appearing on multiple party lists.
* June 24: Parties and independent nominators to submit revised or substituted lists for candidates on multiple party lists.
* June 27: The cut-off date for the compilation of lists of parties contesting the election and for the compilation and certification of lists of ward candidates for each ward.
* July 1: The IEC will issue certificates to party lists and ward candidates.
* July 7: A notice of mobile voting stations routes and a list of addresses of voting stations open for inspection.
* July 8: Closing date of application for special votes.
* On August 1 and 2: IEC workers will do special votes home visitations and will conduct special votes at voting stations.
* August 3: Voting day.