Chakashead near Ballito. (News24)
Chakashead - An African National Congress councillor who fell out of favour with his constituents has been holed up in a plush coastal estate for months, paid for by the KwaDukuza Municipality.
Councillor Jetro Banda, who has held a tight grip on the community of Chakashead near Ballito as a councillor for 20 years, had his home and car torched by an angry mob in February.
Since then, Banda has been living in "exile" with a security detail.
The charismatic councillor points to faction fighting within the ANC as the reason for his ousting, and insists he remains the popular candidate for the people of Chakashead.
Last week, several alleged instigators of the public unrest surrounding Banda were arrested in a swoop by police, which prompted more violent unrest in the township.
"I think this was an inside job orchestrated by certain individuals in the ANC. I am not blaming the ANC as a party. The processes are clear. Someone has come in and manipulated by the people by giving them the wrong information," Banda said in an interview with News24.
Banda said that he was nominated again as a councillor in a branch meeting in December 2015, in a "landslide victory".
After the nomination, a series of public meetings were disrupted, something Banda describes as the start of his woes.
"Early in the morning in February, I got a phone call from the police who told me that there were people who were blocking roads in Chakashead. The speaker of the municipality then called me and asked me if I was safe. He asked if I needed to be booked in a house elsewhere and jokingly I said yes, they should book me a holiday. I was relaxed," he said.
"Then the traffic police came to my house and got me, they put me in one of their cars and they drove my car out of Chakashead."
'Not heard from the ANC'
Banda had just laid his clothes down on his hotel room bed when he got a call to notify him that his house had been set on fire.
"I tried to drive to Chakashead and on the bridge the police stopped me and said I couldn’t go in. From then I stayed in the hotel for a couple of weeks and eventually the municipality got me a temporary house where I have been living until now," he said.
"I wouldn’t say the community has betrayed me. The majority of them still want me. It is just certain individuals who are playing dirty politics. I can blame individuals in the ANC, but not the party. I am not standing for the local government elections," he said.
Banda even insists that high-ranking party officials had paid the bail for rabble rousers.
"From the day this thing happened, I have not heard from the ANC."
"The municipality gave me a house because I am still a councillor. After the elections, I don’t know where I will be living - maybe I will go live in the bush. I have nothing because everything was burnt in the fire," he said.
Banda said that being usurped, as he was, was undemocratic and undercut the processes of the party he serves.
"No one expects to be a councillor for life; you know you have a contract of five years. Kicking someone out like this is anti-democratic," he said.
"These people are living in the past and I don’t think, even when we had the National Party, people didn’t burn houses to become councillors. This could even be something new," he said.
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