YLC spurns ANC choice

2016-07-19 13:12

(Erin Bates)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Young Communist League has broken ranks with the ANC by halting campaigning for a local government election ward candidate it says was imposed on the community.

The youth wing of the ANC’s alliance partner the SA Communist Party, said it would not support Sibusiso Mtshali, the ANC candidate in Pietermaritzburg’s Ward 2 (Sweetwaters).

Slindokuhle Mvelase, the former YCL secretary and current organiser in the ward, said they would prefer Nomthandazo Khumalo, who he said secured 74 votes at a branch general meeting called to nominate the ANC candidate for the ward. “The current candidate only got 36 votes. This is beyond factionalism. It is clear that there is a purge here.

“The last time I checked, the ANC was run as a democracy, but this is totally not democracy. ANC members spoke and said they want Khumalo [as their candidate]. Her choice would also help balance gender representation,” he said.

Since the announcement of the ANC candidate in the ward, there has been unrest in the area. Last week, ANC volunteers conducting door-to-door campaigning in the area were chased away from some houses by people outraged by the party’s choice for the upcoming local government elections.

An ANC member who was among the campaigners in Sweetwaters said an “angry” woman at one of the houses visited had threatened to pour boiling water on them if they “insisted on selling” her the ANC candidate.

Outgoing councillor Simon Sokhela was also attacked by an angry mob last week.

However, there were conflicting reports on the motive for the attack.

While some said Sokhela had been attacked for stalling the upgrade of a road in the area, others insisted he had been attacked for his role in the selection of Mtshali, who is said to be his close ally, as the ward candidate.

Sokhela would only confirm that he had been attacked; he would not comment further, saying he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma said the party was aware of some unhappiness with the candidate, but said the party had engaged the unhappy members “through the processes of the organisation”.

“We went to the area and introduced the candidate. We explained to the people how we had arrived at the decision after we were given four names. It is the prerogative of the leadership to take the final decision on who the candidate is, based on the four names nominated.

“I think that matter has been resolved but we cannot guarantee that everybody is satisfied. The problem with the ANC nomination process is that it is open and democratic.

“At the end, you will have three aggrieved groups because everybody has his or her favoured candidate in the crop of four chosen. It cannot be a smooth process,” he said.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  local government elections  |  anc

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