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KZN experiences protests against candidates ‘imposed’

KwaZulu-Natal has experienced a number of protests mainly from communities which are rejecting a candidate they claim is imposed on them by a political party. The ANC in the province has had a tough time negotiating with its members to support their party’s elected candidates.

 

In some areas such as Mandeni in the north of the province, ANC members have threatened not to participate in the coming local government elections.

At Mandeni, near KwaSithebe Industrial area, factories and property was destroyed earlier in the year when the ANC members rejected a councillor they claimed was not their choice. This left hundreds of people without jobs.

On Monday, community members of the Amatsheketshe area gathered at a local sports ground to meet with the ANC leadership. The community rejects the candidate nominated by the ANC to represent them in the coming local government elections.

Last week, the community went on the rampage and destroyed a water purification plant in the area which supplies clean water to over two hundred businesses.

Tensions are still high, with the community insisting that the ANC needs to listen to them and accept the candidate they support.

Leader of the disgruntled ANC members at Mandeni, Mzwandile Mthembu, says they have followed all the ANC processes in electing their candidate but they were surprised to discover that the ANC had submitted the name of another person.

Mthembu says, “We were shocked and we resorted to protesting so the ANC leadership will attend to our demands. We do not want much; just that the ANC put back our candidate of choice. We are all members of the ANC and our candidate of choice is an ANC member in good standing.”

Mthembu vowed that they will continue with their demonstrations.

“This community wans Sipho Mthethwa to be our ward councillor. Should the ANC fail to restore his name we are prepared to shut down water purification plant and barricade the roads. We do not have problem with shutting down the whole of Mandeni. If all that fails we will then not vote on the coming elections.”

A meeting between the ANC Greater KwaDukuza region and the Amatsheketshe community broke down. The meeting which started two hours late did not last even five minutes. The community demanded that the ANC withdraw the name of its candidate for their area and reinstate their preferred candidate.

Regional ANC Deputy Chairman Nkosinathi “VB” Chili says the ANC will not be able to meet these demands.

“It is difficult for the ANC to change the name that has been submitted in the IEC. That means that if you change the name that has been submitted by the ANC, the ANC will never be represented by any candidate in ward. We are saying people must calm down. We will try our level best to engage the communities. We will never be tired to explain the process of the ANC and we will engage all the communities on that particular matter. We hope that, at the end of the day, the community will be on the side of the African National Congress.”

IEC Manager in KwaZulu Natal Ntombifuthi Masinga says there is no way political parties will be able to change the names of the candidates that were submitted on the 2nd of June.

Police remain deployed in the areas most affected by protests, monitoring the situation.

 

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