Folweni residents riot over ANC nominations

Published Mar 2, 2016


Another wrangle over an ANC nomination process for the local government elections led to a mob of Folweni residents looting and then torching municipal buildings and vehicles worth millions of rands.

A municipal building, containers that were converted into offices, a grader, a light delivery vehicle, a tractor-loader-backhoe vehicle and two police vehicles were set alight last week.

More than 1 000 spades and 100 wheelbarrows were stolen.

Members of the unhappy faction said the SACP members had been sidelined and they did not agree with the nominated candidate ANC ward councillor.

Municipal spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said he cost of the damage was being quantified.

“We can confirm that there has been damage to the depot, but the culprits are unknown.”

Municipal employees said more than 100 wheelbarrows, about 1 000 spades, various tools and chemicals had been stolen from a storeroom during the violence.

A fridge and a stove were stolen from one of the buildings.

A municipal motor mechanic said the grader had been badly damaged. “It would cost half a million to fix. People also stole batteries and wires from this grader.”

Resident Nonhle Mlotshwa said dissatisfaction among ANC members should not affect the whole community.

“This equipment was used to repair our roads. The councillor’s office helped us with proof of residence and making complaints about poor service,” she said.

An ANC member at a nearby ANC office in Folweni, who did not want to be named, said the group of residents were mostly “SACP supporters” and had been unhappy about Thokozani Xulu’s being nominated as the candidate for the local government elections.

He said the group wanted Sisulu Nhlumayo, an SACP activist, to stand for the elections.

The current Ward 95 councillor, Senzangakhona Shange, had not been nominated.

An ANC member, who supports Nhlumayo, said during the nominations held on February 14, ANC members, who were also SACP activists, were excluded from the nomination process.

“We had preferred that the branch meeting be held in Mduduzi Hall, which is central to everyone. But it was held in Qhosheyakhe Primary which is far away from other sections. I had to take a taxi to get there, many people could not afford taxi fare.”

Another ANC member said: “Since the nominations we had been expecting that community meeting would called … to nominate their preferred candidate. But that meeting had not taken place, and all of a sudden we heard that Xulu will be the candidate, which is what sparked the anger.”

In another violent incident last week, ANC supporters burnt down a house and car belonging to KwaDukuza ward councillor Jetro Bhanda after they had accused him of being nominated without following ANC policy and guidelines.

The ANC and SACP have been embroiled in a bitter struggle over the nomination process, with the SACP complaining about its members being sidelined.

Last month, the two parties said they had reached a peace agreement and reruns would be held in some areas.

ANC regional secretary Bheki Ntuli said that on Sunday members of the regional executive met the group of residents and also had a meeting with the area’s branch executive committee. He said a community meeting would be held soon to decide what should be done about the nomination process. He did not comment on the damage.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said police were investigating charges of arson and public violence, and no arrests had been made.

The SACP could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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