ANC faithful disrupt nominations

2010-12-06 00:00

ANGRY ANC supporters in Pietermaritzburg this weekend disrupted branch meetings meant to nominate party candidates for next year’s local government election.

The squabble within the party led to disruption of branch meetings in Snathing outside Edendale, at KwaPata and Eastwood yesterday.

Councillor Sipho Madonda of Ward 11 in Snathing and Nhlazantshe had his vehicle blocked by a large crowd as he was using a loudhailer to urge card-carrying party members go to a local hall. A police presence was visible at the meetings at each venue.

The disgruntled party supporters were demanding that councillors sort out the outstanding problems of membership cards. They alleged that they paid a R12 membership fee about four years ago, but they have yet to be issued with cards.

As a result the meeting in Madonda’s branch was forced to be postponed to an unknown date.

The cards are required for members to be able to nominate their candidates for the elections, which are due to take place before June.

Some party supporters were heard making threats against Madonda, who is the party secretary in his branch. They alleged that he only gives membership cards to “his friends” and leaves those who do not want him to continue as a councillor without cards.

Said one, “He was driving around here telling ANC members to go to the Nhlazatshe hall to nominate him to stand during elections. He is rushing to be nominated before we get our cards because he knows that if we have cards to participate he will never stand for the elections.

“There are lots of ANC supporters who are waiting for the councillors to issue them with ANC membership cards. Instead he gave the cards to people who are known Inkatha Freedom Party supporters.”

Madonda declined to speak to The Witness.

In KwaPata party supporters who do not have membership cards were later allowed into the hall to participate in the debates. But they were told that they will not be allowed to nominate candidates.

Said Msizi Ngcobo, “Our councillor [Musawenkosi Mchunu] claims that this ward is his kingdom. He gives cards to people who want him back as the councillor for a third term. We stopped [former president Thabo] Mbeki for going for a third term so we cannot allow it to happen in our branch.”

Other party supporters alleged there was an attempt to sneak in members from other branches to participate in the nomination.

Later, Mchunu was allegedly chased away while driving around Unit GG announcing the meeting.

In Eastwood, the complaints were also about membership. Long-standing members who were firm supporters of the former councillor, the late Wally Adams, grumbled that they had applied for membership but never got their cards, while others who came after them were sitting in the hall with their membership cards and getting ready to nominate candidates. An angry Catherine Webster said the problem is a lack of communication. “We are long-standing and founding members of the ANC in this ward, but we are not even told when there are meetings.”

Webster said that in the last election Glenwood was part of Ashburton. However, according to the new demarcation process it is now back in ward 34 with Eastwood. She claims that the Glenwood ANC members were not told about yesterday’s meeting. “Our ward councillor does not go around with a loudhailer announcing meetings,” Webster said.

ANC provincial spokesperson Dr Makhosi Khoza, speaking in Snathing, declared that the problems were due to the new demarcartion of the ward. Some members fall under the old ward and are coming to the new ward to take part in the nomination process. She said it was a matter of updating records.

At KwaPata, Khoza said, the problem is that members of the South African Communist Party who are not card-carrying members of the ANC want to vote.

She said the provincial ANC has instructed its officials who are running the branch nominations to explain to members that the nominations are a phased process. First ANC members nominate four candidates who they believe are of good standing in the party. These candidates will be vetted by screening committees and will appear at public meetings where the communities will have a say about whether the candidate.

Khoza said they are finding increasingly that community members who are long-standing supporters of the ANC take their support for granted and forget to renew their membership. She said the province has asked the regions to pay attention to the membership issue.


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