Pretoria - An ANC branch leader in Tshwane has accused the party of being arrogant in announcing Thoko Didiza as mayoral candidate for the city.
Party leaders were meant to have met branches on Sunday to discuss the matter, but when they came claimed the meeting was chaotic, a branch leader, who asked not to be named, said on Monday.
“They promised to come today before they made the announcement, and we told them if they did not do that, we risked losing votes,” said the man.
“They became arrogant and announced Thoko Didiza and now that decision is going to haunt us in Tshwane. Because they thought Sputla [Kgosientso Ramokgopa] and Mapiti [Matsena] are rivals and if they don’t get any of them, they bring a neutral person and things will be fine.”
Party members began protesting on Monday after ANC leaders announced Didiza as mayoral candidate.
He said they tried to speak to party officials about the admiration the people of Tshwane had for Ramokgopa, but they were ignored.
On Monday night, at least 19 buses were set alight and City of Tshwane teams had to be withdrawn from several townships for their safety.
“We are scared, as branches, to say that as ANC we will lose this city because of such activities. You can’t remove a person who is loved by the community. His record speaks for itself.”
He said Ramokgopa had done a much for people in townships, which were ANC strongholds, and had promised to do more, something the party did not take into account.
The man said the city’s youth loved Ramokgopa because he had helped provide internet access through free WiFi. He said the move had gained the ANC much support.
“But if you remove that person and bring in a neutral person, then it becomes a problem. How are we going to resolve it? As branches we have tried to say, 'Please don’t touch that person now'.
“We are not saying mayorship is a permanent position, but please, it’s too early, we will risk losing the city, but they never listened.”
ANC Gauteng spokesperson Motalatale Modiba referred all queries to the regional spokesperson Teboho Joala, who was in a meeting.