Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Poll revolt hits ANC

May 23, 2011

Supporters hold Zuma to lists promise

Only 48 hours after claiming victory in the municipal elections, ANC president Jacob Zuma was facing an internal revolt over the party's candidate nominations process. 

Yesterday, ANC supporters in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal took to the streets, demanding that Zuma keep his word and remove candidates who had been improperly nominated.

In Bizana and Mthatha, in Eastern Cape, members from more than 30 ANC wards protested against the way in which candidate lists were compiled. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, residents of Waterloo rejected their newly elected ward representative and said he should be removed from the list of councillors to be sworn in this week. 

The ANC in the province said yesterday that it was not aware of the Waterloo protest. 

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu

Shortly before the local government elections Zuma said a task team would be set up to investigate all complaints about candidates who had been listed against the wishes of the communities. 

He said such councillors would be removed. 

Zuma also said that the party would go as far as to call by-elections to remove undesirable candidates in an attempt to defuse anger about the party list process. 

"We have worked hard to address these problems and to ensure that the people who serve in our local, district and metropolitan municipalities are truly those who have been chosen with the participation of the communities," Zuma said. 

Last night, the ANC condemned the protests but it said that the swearing-in of councillors could not be stopped. 

Party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said that Zuma was still committed to removing people who had jumped the queue in the compilation of nominations lists. 

"We remain committed to the process of investigating all cases of list tampering," said Mthembu. "The ANC president has made a commitment and the investigations will be done. 

"It is now surprising that people will revolt and take to the streets when the leadership has committed to deal with their problems." 

Mthembu said the ANC would not be held to ransom by members who disregarded party decisions. 

Yesterday, ANC members in Bizana threatened a complete shutdown of community services if Zuma did not resolve their problems immediately. 

Community members told the SABC that some of the councillors were imposed on them by the ANC provincial leadership. They wanted them removed before they could take office. 

ANC member from Bizana Bonakele Duzane said no one should be sworn in until the community's demands had been met. 

Duzane said the aim of the protests was to hold Zuma to his word. 

In Waterloo, residents called on the ANC to deliver on its list promises. 

Residents said that their elected ward councillor, Mxolisi Mzibomvu, whom they claim was imposed on them, should not be sworn in this week. 

According to unconfirmed reports, Mzibomvu's house was burned down by angry residents last week shortly before the elections. 

Anger about the nominations started soon after the ANC adopted a new strategy for the selection of candidates for the municipal elections. 

It involved the participation of community members in the identification of ANC candidates.
But shortly after the nominations process was opened to party members, the party had to deal with a number of protests across the country and infighting started over whose names should appear on the final list. 

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe is expected to brief journalists this morning on the party's response to the nomination-list disputes. 

Mantashe is also expected to discuss the ANC's preferred mayoral candidates.


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