Protest over ANC-imposed councillor

Photo: Marilyn Bernard, The Mercury

Photo: Marilyn Bernard, The Mercury

Published May 24, 2011


The ANC’s controversial council candidates selection process has continued to have repercussions, with residents of Waterloo, Verulam, protesting over the election of ward councillor Mxolisi Ndzimbomvu by burning tyres and intimidating people on their way to work and school early on Monday.

Last week, protesters set Ndzimbomvu’s home alight after he was elected councillor for ward 58, which includes Verulam, La Mercy and Umdloti, north of Durban.

It was reported that the residents wanted an independent to represent the ward.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, police Captain Thulani Zwane said officers had quelled the unrest in the area. Earlier, protesters had also burnt wood in the streets.

During the day, residents held a peaceful meeting at the Waterloo sports grounds at which they handed over a memorandum for the ANC, Zwane said.

“The area is quiet now, police have controlled the situation and no incidents have been reported,” he said. “The peaceful gathering was monitored by police. The crowd dispersed afterwards, and police are patrolling the area now.”

Sapa quoted a Waterloo resident, who asked that his name be withheld, as saying he had decided not to go to work because he feared that his home would be damaged.

“I decided to stay home because they were burning tyres at around 4am (on Monday),” the man said. “I know many pupils who did not go to school.”

Ndzimbomvu said the strong police presence in the area had led to the protesters dispersing quickly.

“They were trying to protest, but they had no impact,” he said.

“They were going up to people to stop them from going to work and school. Police were visible all over, and I was told not to go near the protesters. But the situation is stable for now.”

The ANC secretary for eThekwini region, S’bu Sibiya, said the party was unaware of the residents’ desire to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

“We had no idea of this meeting and that is why no one attended it or came to collect the memorandum,” Sibiya said.

“The memorandum was brought to us by the police station commander in that area, and it has called for Ndzimbomvu to be removed.

“There was no need for them to protest - they are undermining a democratic process. We will now study the memorandum and decide what to do.”

The Education Department criticised the protesters for stopping pupils from going to school.

“It is an unfortunate incident and we condemn it in the strongest way possible,” department spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said. “Pupils have a right to go to school and the protesters should not tamper with their right to learn.” - The Mercury

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