Nquthu residents get another chance to choose their leaders

2017-05-24 06:37
IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)

IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)

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Nquthu – Residents of the rural Nquthu municipality will get another chance to vote for their leaders when the hotly-contested local government by-election takes place in all 17 wards on Wednesday.

The KwaZulu-Natal government dissolved the council in February after it failed to elect its leaders, including the mayor and speaker, following the August 3 local government elections.

It is the only municipality in the country without a mayor.

The by-election would include all 17 ward and 16 proportional representation (PR) council seats.

There were 81 085 registered voters in Nquthu’s 116 voting districts, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said in a statement. Voting stations would be open from 07:00 to 19:00.

A total of 359 candidates (238 ward and 121 PR candidates) representing 14 political parties would take part. The parties include the ANC, IFP, NFP, EFF, DA, and Black First Land First.

Voter turnout in the area in last year’s municipal elections was 58.27%. In that election the IFP won 15 seats, the ANC 14, the NFP two, and the DA and EFF one seat each.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Sunday accused KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube of imposing ANC rule in any municipality where people voted for a different party.

He claimed that immediately after last year’s elections, it was clear the IFP would govern Nquthu.

‘They can’t bear the thought of losing’

“But at one meeting after the next, the election of office bearers was disrupted and everything in Nquthu ground to a halt,” he told thousands of IFP followers in the area during his party’s final rally ahead of the by-election.

“We understood the politics behind it. If the ANC could keep a spanner in the works for long enough, by derailing the election of office bearers, the MEC could step in,” he said.

In terms of the Constitution, the Cogta MEC could dissolve a local council and place a municipality under administration.

“In other words, the MEC can effectively put under ANC rule any municipality where the people voted for a different party. All it takes is the suspension of good governance for long enough, through political mischief,” he said.

The by-election was not only about controlling Nquthu, but about swinging the balance of power in the Umzinyathi District Municipality, Buthelezi said.

“If the ANC can get Nquthu in their pocket, they will take over the whole district. They can’t bear the thought of losing to the IFP in Nquthu.”

Peace and unity

Buthelezi claimed this was one of the reasons President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize all turned up for a local by-election.

On Sunday, Zuma addressed an ANC rally near the IFP rally. He advised supporters of smaller parties to vote for the ANC because those parties would never govern. He asked residents not to vote for “those who talk too much” and “blatant liars”.

“But vote for the party that will bring change and deliver services in Nquthu,” said Zuma.

The ANC would bring peace and unity, which were required to deliver services. The ANC would eradicate poverty, inequality, and unemployment, he said.

EFF leader Julius Malema told his supporters in Nquthu on Sunday to “vote peacefully”. The EFF got one seat in last year’s election. He claimed his party’s agents were intimidated during campaigning in Nquthu.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane visited the area last Wednesday. He urged residents to give the combined opposition parties a proper majority, to end corruption and start delivering basic services.

“Your vote in this by-election can play a huge role in bringing stability to this municipality, and improved service delivery to your community,” he said.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  ifp  |  durban  |  local government  |  elections

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