Fed-up residents to boycott elections

2011-05-16 10:24

Fed-up Ermelo residents have decided to boycott Wednesday’s local government elections.

The community of Wesselton township, which is mostly comprised of youth, met yesterday morning where they discussed how to deal with the ANC leadership’s decision to snub their pleas for a meeting.Some of them offered their vehicles to be used for loud-hailing.

They collected petrol money and others began door-to-door campaigns to persuade the community not to vote.

The residents, however, emphasised their support for the ANC, and said they would rather deny the party their vote rather than switch their allegiance to opposition parties.

“We decided against staging a protest on Wednesday because that’s going to have negative consequences such as getting some of us arrested or the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) might lay charges against us for disrupting the elections,” said community member Dumisani Mahaye.

“We will address our issues after the elections. On Wednesday, we may play soccer or do other things that will keep us away from voting,” Mahaye said.

The residents barricaded roads, burned tyres and vandalised the Msukaligwa municipality’s properties for three days in February in protest against the ANC’s rejection of their preferred candidate councillors during the nomination processes.

The protest started in Wesselton’s Ward Five when Premier David Mabuza’s backers in the ANC Gert Sibande region rejected the community’s choice, Bongani Phakathi, to be elected as candidate for their ward.

Other wards raised the same concern, and the community staged a protest – also accusing Msukaligwa council of sex for jobs, bribes for jobs and poor service delivery.

National police commissioner General Bheki Cele promised the residents that he would convey their request to speak to the ANC’s leadership, but no leader came to listen to them.

Instead, the party’s leadership branded leaders of the protests as “criminals”.

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