Independent candidates, including ANC members who chose to stand against their own party, were expected to put pressure on the governing party, which is fighting a rearguard battle in municipalities in North West.
After losing internal candidate list battles in the ANC, some disgruntled party members have now registered as candidates under a new movement, Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), which claims to stand for “independent and young candidate councillors”.
One of the hotly contested areas will be Rustenburg Local Municipality, where F4SD will be contesting elections in all 45 wards. Nine of the 45 F4SD candidates are incumbent ANC councillors.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has always been considered a threat for the ANC in Rustenburg, an area where it has gained popularity in the mines.
The party took its official launch to Marikana in 2013 and its second anniversary celebration to the town of Rustenburg last year.
F4SD spokesperson Katlego Motlagodisa confirmed the group’s strong presence in Rustenburg, adding that it had registered candidates in all four regions of North West and was also contesting all wards in Tshwane.
“And I can tell you, they’re scared stiff already in North West. According to our analysis, the ANC will become an opposition in most of the councils and we’re open for a coalition to make this a possibility,” Motlagodisa said.
The ANC in the province has downplayed this, saying it was not shaken at all.
“They don’t pose a threat to us because this forum was founded by a coalition of the disgruntled without any intention to serve communities – they just want to serve themselves. Just like the Congress of the People and others, they will soon find themselves in ICU and begging to rejoin the ANC,” said ANC provincial secretary Dakota Legoete.
A member of the ANC and now a candidate under the banner of F4SD in Greater Taung Local Municipality, Mothusi Montwedi, said they were pushed out of the party they “loved so much”. He claimed preferred candidates were “sidelined and those favoured by party leaders were imposed on branches”.
“We have complained, but it did not help because the ANC in North West has become the most undemocratic organisation driven by factions, where votes are rigged and candidates imposed in a practice that is working against the party’s own constitution and founding principles,” Montwedi said.
Pogiso Bothomane, an ANC councillor in Rustenburg and a F4SD candidate, reiterated Montwedi’s statement, saying he was one of the preferred candidates who was removed in favour of someone else.
“We can’t just support candidates who are imposed on us along factional lines. We approached F4SD because we represent the will of the people who should be aware now who is responsible for R3 billion in irregular expenditure incurred by Rustenburg municipality in the past financial year,” he said.
“I am an ANC member, but my community comes first. I will leave it up to the party to decide whether I remain a member.”
Legoete said party members standing against the ANC were “automatically expelling themselves”, adding that processes were under way to terminate the party’s incumbent councillors, as well as expel them and members standing as independents from the party.
He further denied allegations of imposing candidates, saying some of those complaining “never received even a single nomination”.
“They are now shifting blame, saying there is something unbecoming from our side, which is not true. They are playing the victim,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in North West said it had received submissions from 90 independent candidates. This excluded those who had registered under movements such as F4SD.
Provincial head of the IEC, Tumelontle Thiba, said 30 political parties were registered in North West, including 15 “brand new ones”.