ANC still mum on Soobiah

2011-04-14 00:00

THE African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal is yet to publicly explain its decision to include Rachel Soobiah on its Msunduzi Municipality election candidates’ list, despite public accusations that she is running an illegal boarding house and has been a subject of a fraud probe.

The final list of candidates released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) put Soobiah at number 11 on the ANC’s Msunduzi list, meaning she is almost certain to be elected.

The Witness, which broke the story about Soobiah’s inclusion into the election list before it was made public, has been inundated with calls and letters questioning the ANC’s silence on this issue.

Adding fuel to the controversy around her, Soobiah also offers accommodation to children, despite the fact that her husband, Clinton, was convicted of rape in 1993.

One reader said in a letter, “I believe you would be providing a great service to your readers if you managed to publish an article in which you get the ANC to explain in detail why they have included Rachel Soobiah on their PR list for the upcoming elections.

“I know nothing about her besides what I read in your newspaper, but it fills me with dismay that the ruling party sees fit to override the wishes of their members and include as their preferred candidate a person who is alleged to be running an illegal boarding house and has been the subject of a fraud probe.

“Where there’s smoke there’s fire … I think we all deserve to know more about this.”

Another reader who called the newspaper and asked not to be named said should Soobiah be voted in, it will be a challenge for her to enforce municipal by-laws as she is alleged to be breaking them.

Last night ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and KZN spokesperson Makhosi Khoza were not available to shed light on the Soobiah controversy. They both promised to come back to the newspaper but failed to do so.

Meanwhile, the weekly meeting of the ANC’s national working committee, reaffirmed its decision to withhold the names of its mayoral candidates until after the election.

In a statement yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said ANC provincial chairpersons and secretaries have reaffirmed the long-standing practice of announcing the mayoral candidates after the elections.

However, the inclusion of two ANC provincial heavyweights and MPLs — Makhosi Khoza and Sipho Gcabashe in eThekwini and Msunduzi respectively — partly exposes the ANC plans should they win these two major KZN municipalities.

The final list released by the IEC shows that all major KZN political parties have fielded top candidates to battle it out in eThekwini and 10 district municipalities.

In Zululand the battle is expected to be between the Inkatha Freedom Party and breakaway National Freedom Party.

NFP president Zanele “VZ” Magwaza-Msibi will challenge her former comrade, Zululand mayor Blessed Gwala, as they both top their party lists.

Magwaza-Msibi did not qualify to stand for re-election as Zululand mayor as she had served two terms under the IFP, but she now qualifies because she will be campaigning under the banner of a another party.

In uThukela, former IFP uMtshezi Mayor Maliyakhe Lymon Shelembe will be standing against his former IFP comrade, Nhlanhla Hadebe.

Shelembe’s former deputy in uMtshezi, Muziwenhlanhla Ntshaba, is candidate number three on the uThukela list.

Newly-elected IFP Women’s Brigade national chairperson Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa tops the IFP’s list for the uMkhanyakude District Municipality.

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