Port Elizabeth – The African National Congress was not an organisation of criminals, Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane has said.
This after an ANC candidate was shot and killed in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday.
Nceba Dywili, a Ward 4 candidate, was killed while dropping off a volunteer in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.
Briefing media on Thursday at the ANC’s Florence Matomela House, Mabuyane said Dywili would stand for the party in his absence, and they would win the ward in his honour.
Mabuyane condemned the killing of the candidate, and said it came as a surprise as the ward had not experienced the list wars that the party had experienced elsewhere.
"We are going to work around the clock to unearth the truth. We want to expose the elements that might be the culprits or perpetrators. We believe the information we have should [lead to] police [getting] the individuals quickly," he said.
Confidence in the police
They did not care whether the individuals were within the ANC, or were outside elements, he said.
"We want the police to do their investigation without fear or favour. Starting within."
Expressing confidence that the police would make arrests soon, he called for the killers to be brought to book swiftly.
Mabuyane said anyone demonstrating criminal behaviour within the ANC should be treated as a criminal, as the party was an organisation of the people.
Any, and all, "wrong tendencies" would not be tolerated, he said.
"In this we are clear. We want the police to start doing investigations and they must start with us. We can't start blaming the third force here," he said.
No candidate in mind
But a third force could not be ruled out in Nelson Mandela Bay, he said, as the situation was abnormal.
He called for members to exercise restraint and give the police space to do their work in finding Dywili's killers.
Should the police arrest a member of the ANC for the crime, that person would be out of the ANC pending the outcome of the court case, Mabuyane said.
"We can't afford to have the ANC associated with criminals," he said.
The slain ANC candidate would be buried on Sunday, August 7, while his memorial service would be held at Walmer High School on Thursday, August 4.
They did not have a candidate in mind to take over from Dywili, the ANC said, as the process would have to start again after the local government elections.
"We are going to invoke his spirit, he is going to be our candidate, deceased as he is, then we will restart the process," he said.