President Zuma campaigning in Inchangas Ward 4 on Tuesday. Picture: @MYANC

Durban - President Jacob Zuma launched a scathing attack against independent candidates contesting the local government elections on Tuesday, calling them treacherous “witches” who would have been “impaled back in the day”.

Zuma accused the independents of dividing the ANC by standing against the party.

However, he said they could not be killed because “we are now living in a democratic system”. As many as 12 local politicians have been gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal in the past month, before next week’s elections.

Zuma was addressing thousands of ANC supporters who packed a huge white marquee in Inchanga’s Ward 4, home of eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo, who did not attend.

Inchanga is among a number of areas in which ANC members are standing as independents after they were aggrieved by the party’s candidate nomination process.

Some local ANC supporters, who were also unhappy when the party endorsed Boy Shozi as the candidate, nominated Nxumalo’s relative, Malombo Nxumalo, to stand as an independent.

Zuma said the independents were dishonest as they had previously pledged allegiance to the party, saying “they were following ANC policies, principles and ANC values, they would die ANC”.

“We gave them positions because we trusted them. They show the worst form of dishonesty. These people did not hold the positions for the ANC and people, but they did it for themselves,” he said.

After they had failed to make it through the nomination they realised they would not survive without holding rank.

“Then they walk out (of the ANC) to call themselves independents.”

Zuma said he also questioned the integrity of ANC supporters who voted for independents.

“People who vote for independents have a problem of not knowing why they are in the ANC. How can you vote for an independent if you know that you are an ANC member? How can you vote for a person who divides the ANC?”

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma told the crowd that all independents had been “fired” from the ANC.

“You must never make the mistake of voting for them. They are no longer ANC members,” said Super Zuma.

President Zuma also accused Bantu Holomisa, Mosiuoa Lekota and Julius Malema of dividing the ANC by forming the United Democratic Movement, Cope and the EFF. Voting for “angry people” would be a waste of votes.

Zuma’s campaign rhetoric has grown more incendiary as the election draws nearer, with the ANC in trouble in many areas across the country. He recently called the DA a “snake” which behaved like its parents the National Party and Progressive Party.

He has also increasingly called for racial voting among blacks, disparaging those who choose to vote for the DA and other opposition parties.

“I am shocked when I see a black person saying he is in the DA.

“The National Party and Progressive Party came together to form the Democratic Party, which later became DA,” he said.

“A snake gives birth to another snake. It would never give birth to a dove. The DA is poisonous just like its father.

“The DA is a snake. It is doing what the National Party did.”

The Mercury