Kgosientso Ramokgopa backs Thoko Didiza for the Tshwane mayoral post. With him is ANC Gauteng chair Paul Mashatile during the community meeting that was held at Atteridgeville community hall. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo
The protesting community of Atteridgeville in Pretoria have accused the ANC of imposing former minister Thoko Didiza as their mayoral candidate over their preferred one, current mayor Kgosientso Sputla Ramokgopa.
Not even Ramokgopa could persuade his supporters to accept the ANC’s decision to allow Didiza to take the helm of the municipality of the capital city.
Several groups arrived the local community hall, where Ramokgopa addressed them, singing pro-Ramokgopa songs and chanting “Sputla or nothing” as well as “we won’t allow Didiza to take away our Sputla in our presence”.
ANC Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile was booed when introduced to a community at a local hall in volatile Atteridgeville earlier.
Parts of Tshwane experienced fiery protests which left more than 20 buses and several trucks torched in Mamelodi and Soshanguve. The protests started after the ANC announced Didiza as its mayoral candidate for Tshwane.
Atteridgeville remained on the edge since last night. Roads were blockaded, tyres burnt and there was looting – all of which continued this morning with two buses and a truck going up in flames.
This prompted Ramokgopa to take to social media in a bid to urge his supporters to calm down under #NotInMyName.
He reiterated this in a community meeting earlier today, urging party members to respect and support the ANC’s decisions.
However, they responded fiercely, saying the ANC had made decisions on behalf of its local branches and had imposed Didiza on them.
They also refused to allow taxis to operate, shops to open and situation in the area to normalise, and vowed to continue with their protest until the ANC agreed to have Ramokgopa as mayoral candidate.
Ramokgopa was also widely opposed when he urged them to allow normality while the ANC engaged its branches from tomorrow in a bid to resolve their issues.
They raised their voices in disagreement when he said everything would only be possible if the ANC was “in power after August 3” elections.
The ANC decided to bring in Didiza as a compromise candidate over Ramokgopa and his deputy, Mapiti Matsena. The two have been blamed for leading factional groups which were divided on who should lead the capital city municipality.
The party called “for calm and discipline” yesterday. It said it would report to its branches on this decision and for them to rally behind the resolution.
“The robust nature of our candidate selection process provides an opportunity for members of our organisation to voice their displeasure. Once decisions are taken it is ultimately incumbent on all our members to close ranks, and in this case support and rally behind Comrade Thoko Didiza and all our councillor candidates,” the ANC said.
There were no indications on whether the protests would continue when the community left the hall singing pro-Ramokgopa songs.
The police presence remained heavy in the area where foreign-owned shops and shopping centres continued to be looted throughout the day.