Mbombela - An African National Congress leader in Mpumalanga has admitted that it was his voice on a recording on which he can be heard saying no money will be allocated to a municipal ward won by an independent candidate.
The ANC leader, Majaheni Nyalunga, who is a serving councillor in Mbombela's Ward 35, issued the warning, which was secretly recorded by a community member, last Tuesday.
"If there's one person who is [an independent] councillor, against 100 [ANC] people, where will she ask for the budget? Because she has to ask for it from us, and then we will [decide if we] give it to her. If she is not part of us, we definitely will not give it to her. If she is voted for and wins here, she will stay for five years and not a thing will happen here. That's the truth that we cannot dispute," Nyalunga is heard saying in the audio.
The main contenders for Ward 35 are the ANC's Reina Seepsop and independent candidate Elizabeth Mndawe. Both candidates are branch executive committee (BEC) members of the ANC.
The ANC leaders in the province, however, opted for Seepsop while the community favoured Mndawe in a bizarre nomination process where voters were asked to whistle. The candidate who received the loudest whistles won the contest.
Nyalunga confirmed that it was his voice on the tape and that he knew who had recorded him.
He said there was nothing unusual about what he did and accused Mndawe of saying unsavoury things about the governing ANC.
"We are going to elections. It's war. She also said the ANC was a skeleton - a body without meat, [anytime] it can die. I was also responding," said Nyalunga.
Mndawe, who cried foul at the latest incident, said that she had confronted Nyalunga, but he denied the allegations.
'We are in charge, chief'
"I phoned and asked him about his statements, but he denied them, so I'm left with no choice but to report him to the IEC," she said.
She also disclosed that there was another recording of Nyalunga and that she had reported it to the Electoral Commission (IEC) because of its contents. Nyalunga was allegedly recorded telling people that Mndawe, who runs a home-based care programme for people living with HIV, was handing out rotten food and dead people's clothes to the needy.
When approached for comment on whether the ruling party would not be punishing the community for electing an independent candidate by withdrawing the budget, he was unwavering.
"We are in charge, chief. Indeed, where is she going to get the budget? I was telling the people the frustrations that she will encounter, so I didn't want her to take the people to frustrate them with her. She will be lonely," said Nyalunga.
ANC regional secretary, Phazamisa Mathe, condemned those who recorded Nyalunga.
"Comrades should counsel each other if another is doing things that do not assist the organisation, instead of recording them and taking the recording everywhere, meanwhile on the other side they are the members of the ANC. I don’t want to work with people who are holding aces against me."
He requested to be given more time to respond as he said he was busy with an ANC programme.
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