Protests over candidate lists overshadow Ramaphosa’s visit to East London

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Disgruntled ANC members took to the streets of Mdantsane carrying placards in protest of the candidate nomination list processes. Photo:Lubabalo Ngcukana/City Press
Disgruntled ANC members took to the streets of Mdantsane carrying placards in protest of the candidate nomination list processes. Photo:Lubabalo Ngcukana/City Press


ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa was welcomed by a crowd of protesting party members on a campaign trail in East London ahead of the local government elections.

Ramaphosa addressed a 1 000-strong crowd of ANC members from ward 23 at NU 14 Sports Fields in Mdantsane, East London, on Saturday.

The president arrived at the venue just after 12pm, but at 1pm he had already concluded his speech as rain ruined things for the governing party.

The ANC had conducted door-to-door visits prior to addressing the masses in Mdantsane. Ramaphosa was accompanied by ANC elections head and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, provincial chairperson and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, and Buffalo City metro Mayor Xola Pakati.

The ANC president is expected to move his campaign to the Nelson Mandela Bay metro on Sunday in what is seen as the battlefield of the upcoming local government elections. In the 2016 elections there was no outright majority in Nelson Mandela Bay, but the DA got the most votes and governed the Gqeberha-based metro through a coalition with smaller parties while the ANC was forced to the opposition benches for the first time.

In anticipation of the president’s visit, party members who are unhappy with the candidate nomination list processes of the ANC took to the streets of Mdantsane carrying placards in protest against what they said was manipulation in selecting candidates councillors.

READDamning report of an ANC in turmoil

The protesters later moved to the NU 14 Sports Field and police had a tough time trying to keep the disgruntled ANC members at bay as they clashed with those who were opposed to the protest.

Sakhumzi Jaji of Ward 26 in Dr WB Rubusane region (formerly Buffalo City) said the ANC was forcing down their throats a councillor they did not want and sidelined the one they elected as structures.

Jaji said:

We have been robbed and the ANC did not follow the guidelines it put in place. The ANC said it wanted candidates who were elected by the community, but when we did that they gave us a person we did not elect

He said that, following a branch general meeting, they had elected three candidates – Akhona Makisi, Monde Mfene and Nombasa Nokoyo. Following a community meeting, Makisi won with 993 votes according to Jaji, while Mfene had 903 votes and Nokoyo had 576.

“But what we have observed is that the ANC is forcing Mfene on us despite the fact that he came second to Makisi. We have been raising our unhappiness about this issue with the ANC leadership in the province to no avail.”

“We have come to voice our concerns to Ramaphosa as the leader of the ANC with the hope that he will listen to us,” said Jaji.

Another ANC member, Siyabonga Buthengwa from Ward 17, also in Dr WB Rubusana, said they were protesting at the rally so that Ramaphosa could see for himself that there are corrupt people in the governing party who are manipulating processes for their selfish needs.

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“The person we had elected as ward councillor candidate was changed by the ANC in Calata House [provincial ANC headquarters] and they are giving us a person we did not choose. So we are protesting here at an ANC event as ANC members to expose the lies and corruption that have been done in the nomination process. We want Ramaphosa to know that we have been robbed and we are not happy about that,” said Buthengwa.

Addressing the media at the Mdantsane Public Library, Ramaphosa admitted that there were errors and missteps in the processes, even though there had not been many in Dr WB Rubusane. He said the region was one of the best performers in terms of registering their candidates on time.

“We have said that all these complaints are going to be handled after the elections,” said Ramaphosa.

He said it was too late to change the candidate lists now.

He said:

Post the elections, we will be able to settle all these issues. We have already appointed an investigation team that is going to go through this thoroughly and wherever we find that there are fraudulent activities and unacceptable behaviour we will attend to that and even change the list for that purpose

Ramaphosa said all they were focusing on currently was ensuring an ANC victory in the metro.

He said the adverse weather had let down many who came to engage with their party leaders.

“I feel sad about the rain because many of our people travelled long distances to come so that they can meet their leaders, [and to] hear our premier, our metro mayor and our candidates speaking, including myself. So that really was a sad moment because just as I was about to speak it started pouring and people had to run away,” he said.


Lubabalo Ngcukana 


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