ANC on fact-finding mission in raging Sakhile

2009-10-15 13:49

MEMBERS of the ANC national executive committee were expected to visit the troubled township of Sakhile, near Standerton, today.

The two-man delegation comprises former ANC Youth League leaders Fikile Mbalula, who is now deputy minister of police, and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.

“I can confirm that they will be meeting with the community leaders, municipality officials, the provincial government and the civil society organisations so that all sectors can be given a hearing. They are likely to visit families to get their understanding of the problem,” said the governing party’s spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi.

“We don’t want a one-sided story. We want to give the community and everybody involved a chance to speak to the ANC.”
Sakhile township has for the past weeks been rocked by service delivery protests that have seen blockaded roads, burnt municipal buildings and massive damage to property.

Mnisi cautioned that while the ANC delegation would give the community an opportunity to speak, it was only a fact-finding mission. “All that the ANC is doing as a political party is to officially gather its own information and to propose an intervention.”

At a rally held at the Sakhile Stadium yesterday, community leader Phanuel Manana told the marching crowd that the ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe would be visiting the township.

In responding to Manana’s claims, Mnisi said this would not be the case and that he didn’t know why such a statement was made. “I don’t know, it is better to ask him. He is not deploying the delegation.”

Manana, trying to explain himself, said on Tuesday a delegation of pastors had visited the ANC headquarters – Luthuli House – in the Johannesburg CBD and that he was informed of Mantashe’s visit by one of the pastors.

Then on last night, after the rally at the stadium, he said Mantashe phoned him personally to inform him that he would no longer be attending the rally.
For the past week, Sakhile residents have been demanding that President Jacob Zuma should visit their township to address them because their elected councillors had failed them.

At the rally, Manana also confirmed that all other councillors who refused to step down, including the city mayor, would be removed from office by today. 

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