2011-04-23 20:00

It has been more than a month since riots engulfed Ermelo, but the mood is still tense as disgruntled community members lobby for a boycott of the May 18 municipal elections.

And in another development, four independent candidates nominated to stand as ward councillors are crying foul after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) disqualified them.

Wesselton township, near Ermelo, went up in flames in February after the community complained that the ANC’s Gert Sibande region had imposed candidate councillors they did not want.

“We are going ahead with the ‘no-vote campaign’,” said community leader Dumisani Mahaye.

“The ANC is our party but they don’t deserve our votes. We’ve been trying to talk to them, but instead of them sitting around the table with us, they called ama-berets (the police tactical response team) to assault us.”

The disgruntled ANC members have dubbed the governing party the African National Corruption.

Mfanimpela Kubheka, who wanted to stand as an independent in Wesselton’s ward No 1, said the no-vote campaign was gaining momentum.

“The community wanted us to stand as independent, but the IEC disqualified us. We suspect foul play as the IEC is not independent but dependent on the ANC.

“What choice do we have now except to boycott the elections?”

Mpumalanga IEC provincial officer Steve Ngwenya denied there had been foul play: “They were disqualified because most of the signatures they had on their profiles were of individuals who were not registered as voters.”

» Meanwhile, ANC defectors in Bushbuckridge have formed a new civic organisation, the Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association, which will contest the May 18 elections.

The association’s secretary, Cleopas Maunye, said they decided to split from the ANC due to corruption and lack of service delivery. 

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