Umzumbe residents: ‘ANC must answer us’

2011-06-15 00:00

RESIDENTS of Ward 18 in the Umzumbe Municipality want answers from the regional ANC leaders after they allegedly imposed a councillor on the ward. They claim that there were four names on the list of candidates that they submitted and that the elected councillor’s name was not one of them.

The residents are ANC members who say they will not rest until their side has been heard. They have already submitted a complaint to the ANC provincial office and to the office of the secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe.

One of the residents, Bhekani Nxumalo, said that when they had to choose a name, they submitted four nominations to the ruling party’s regional office and the name of the current councillor, Olive Mbambo (67), was not among them. When they complained to the region about Mbambo’s nomination, they were told to go and vote, and after the election the leadership would look into their complaint.

There are also allegations that Mbambo threatened that her husband would deal with the members who were dissatisfied with her election. In an audio recording in The Witness’ s possession, her husband can be heard saying that he is prepared to fight since “these people” are talking about him. He also warned his cousin not to mingle with his enemies because she might also get hurt.

Speaking to The Witness, regional secretary Mzwandile Mkhwanazi denied that the councillor was imposed on the residents.

He said that proper channels were followed at the branch general meeting (BGM) at which the councillor was chosen. The residents who are complaining did not participate in this meeting, he added.

“These people were affected by the demarcation of wards and they thought they were still in Ward 17, but only realised, when they were told by the province, that they needed to be part of Ward 18.

“All the voting districts participated during the BGM meeting and only a handful of people did not attend. Some of these people were arrested since they were disrupting the election process.”

Mkhwanazi said that all the grievances about the chosen councillors have been forwarded to the ANC national task team led by Home Affairs Minister and national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is to deal with them.

Ward 18 residents’ grievances were submitted and the disgruntled members also supplied their own reports. “The task team will set a date to come and listen to people’s grievances,” Mkhwanazi said.

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