Election battles spread to Copesville

2011-01-13 00:00

COPESVILLE in Pietermaritzburg has become the latest area in which ANC members started to squabble over nominations for the upcoming local government elections.

Hundreds of ANC supporters and local leaders stood on both sides of Copesville Road and hurled insults at each other at about 4 pm yesterday. During the imbroglio, both sides accused each other of breaching their party’s policies by creating division among members.

ANC Ward 29 branch organiser, Vuyani Ndlovu, accused the party’s branch secretary, Thandi Ndlo­vu, of calling party meetings without informing him. He said she does this to undermine other local ANC leaders.

The roadside confrontation disrupted a meeting which was supposed to introduce the ANC’s four nominees, whose names would be sent to the region to decide on one person to stand for elections.

“Thandi was standing for the nominations and she manipulated the process by issuing membership cards only to Sotho-speaking people who she was sure were going to nominate her. Other people were left without the cards. As a result they were unable to participate,” said Vuyani Ndlovu.

Although there was no presence of police during the confrontation, which took place in front of the Copesville satellite police station, leaders from both groups said they were concerned that members could resort to physical attacks. But about two hours later the gathering dispersed peacefully.

“Thandi isolates Indian members of the ANC and isiZulu-speaking people, and only sides with Sothos which might lead to tribal conflict. Instead of holding a meeting in a community hall, she chooses to hold it in an open area (in the informal settlement) where only Sothos live,” said Mbongeni Nodada, a South African Communist Party branch chairperson.

Thandi Ndlovu hit back and accused Nodada and Vuyani Ndlovu of causing tribal division in the area.

“Whenever they refer to me they call me ‘this Sotho woman’. Nodada even made threats that I will not be alive in the next three years,” said Thandi Ndlovu, although she has not reported the threats to the police. She also said her opponents have a reputation for calling meetings without informing her. She accused them of using these gatherings to entice people to nominate them.

“They use food to buy people to nominate them. It is lies that I deprive people of membership cards. When I became the secretary last year the ANC had only 345 members in this ward and now there are more than 700 members,” she said.

The Copesville chaos came less than a week after similar turmoil erupted in KwaPata, as ANC supporter protested against local councillor Musawenkosi Mchunu standing for election again.

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