Gwede Mantashe. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)
Johannesburg - Submitting candidate lists for the local government elections is "like being responsible for a nuclear bomb", ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.
With less than two hours to go before the Electoral Commission of SA's deadline for submitting party lists on Thursday afternoon for the August 3 elections, about 100 protesters from Gauteng and Mpumalanga were camped out in front of Luthuli House and in the entrance foyer, holding posters expressing their grievances.
Their shouts became louder when Mantashe walked across the foyer to Luthuli House's media room, where he addressed a press conference on the party's lists process. Outside, protesters kept on singing and shouting their demands and blowing vuvuzelas and whistles.
Mantashe said "95% of the lists" had been loaded two hours before the IEC's 17:00 deadline, with some lists from the Western Cape and Ekurhuleni still outstanding.
"We are loading the other [names], we are operating away from here, because we don't want people to say [afterwards] I was number one and now I'm number seven. They must go now," he said. "Anything people are complaining about now will be dealt with after."
Mantashe said on Wednesday that there were 5 000 protesters outside Luthuli House and the party had dealt with the complaints of all, except those of 200 of the protesters.
'People going to war to be a councillor'
He ascribed problems to the fact that the ANC had quotas for women, which meant many men were moved down the list in the process. Also, the party had a rule that 60% of its present councillors had to be retained for continuity.
"What is a new thing though, is that people are going to war to be a councillor, where you bus people to Luthuli House, where they must be visible for you to be a councillor.
"If you want support, you must have it in the community in the meetings where they sit, not in front of Luthuli House," he said.
He said the ANC should not act on lists "under pressure", because then the "wrong candidates" would be nominated.
One of the posters, held up by several protesters from Ward 121 in Ekurhuleni, read: "We need the people's choice!!! Gogo must fall." Protesters said the ward candidate in question was too old.
A woman from Ward 96 in Ekurhuleni, who refused to be named, said the community didn't want their councillor, Stenious Mashale, to return.
"He is not working with us in the community, and he is rude," she said.
She said the community wanted Vivian Nkomo as councillor. "She is loyal and listens to [the community]."