‘Stop feeding us councillor Majola’

2016-05-05 11:30
Protesters blocked Edendale Road with burning tyres and poles.

Protesters blocked Edendale Road with burning tyres and poles. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - ANC members, infuriated over the nomination of an ANC ward councillor at Georgetown, set tyres and poles alight and blockaded Edendale Road on Wednesday.

Traffic had to be diverted as police had their work cut out for them trying to disperse the angry mob who had started gathering from as early as 3 am. At one point, a handful of protesters broke away from the main group and started blocking another part of Edendale Road.

ANC members in ward 12 said they were tired of being “fed” Sibonelo Majola as their ward councillor, saying there had been no service delivery in the ward since he took over as the councillor, 10 years ago.

Majola, who will be representing the ANC in the ward for the third time, is no stranger to his nomination attracting protest. In 2011, police had to fire stun grenades to disperse protesters, who while protesting the nomination of Majola, had also stoned police vehicles.

However, Majola said yesterday he remained unfazed by the protest, saying he knew some of the protesters were bused in from neighbouring wards to tarnish his image.

“This is not about service delivery, it is just character assassination. This protest is being orchestrated by people whom I defeated during the nomination contest.

“They will spread these protests to other wards as well because they are so power hungry,” he said.

The branch general meeting in which Majola was confirmed as the ANC candidate, had to be postponed twice due to disruptions.

Both Majola and the protesters confirmed that police had to be called in, while other members of the party had to be rushed to hospital during the nomination meetings.

Their versions differed though on the events that led to delegates being hospitalised.

The protesters told The Witness that it was Majola’s faction that had stabbed and assaulted people who were known to be against Majola.

However, Majola said the protesters had pepper-sprayed the delegates after realising that their candidate did not have enough members to vote for him.

“These people just do not want to accept the democratic processes which we voted for in 1994. Now they want to tarnish my image and that of the party,” he said.

A protester who did not want to be named said Majola had received preferential treatment from the party’s regional leaders.

“This is dividing the ANC and it will cost our party dearly in the upcoming local government elections. Some people are leaving the ANC because of this,” said the protester.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said protesters had dispersed after being given an ultimatum by police.

“Everything is back to normal and no arrests were made,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from regional secretary Mzi Zuma were unsuccessful as his phone was not answered nor did he respond to the SMS query sent to him.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc

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