ANC in the Eastern Cape will have to sack 20 councillors after voting them in

ANC flag. File photo
ANC flag. File photo

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape has made the startling admission that its nomination process was so flawed that it will have to fire 20 councillors and hold by-elections soon after the August 3 elections.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane told the Daily Dispatch that some branches had improperly constituted their screening committees and outcomes at branch general meetings (BGMs) were manipulated‚ leading to protests.

Mabuyane said that because the Electoral Commission (IEC) had already closed the list process the party would have to wait until after the election to rectify the situation – that is if the ANC wins in those wards.

Some of the affected wards – confirmed to the Dispatch – are in Mbhashe (four)‚ Mnquma (five)‚ Nelson Mandela (two) and BCM (two).

“They cut across regions. I can safely say‚ of the 705 wards we will be contesting‚ we will have to ask the IEC to run by-elections in 20 so that the top candidate who qualified (during the BGM) to contest as ward councillor is properly placed.

However‚ for this to happen‚ the winning councillor would have to resign. The IEC would then declare a vacancy leading to a by-election.

A councillor could still defy the party and continue to serve – but this would lead to their expulsion from the ANC‚ as had happened on previous occasions.

Said Mabuyane: “We must acknowledge that our own screening committees were not as perfect as we would have wished.

“These committees are elected in a BGM‚ but in cases where BGMs could not meet their quorum more than three times‚ the screening committees were elected in meetings with only 15% of the branch membership.”

This contravenes party rules.

He said in some cases the screening committees – tasked to keep records of discussions during BGMs – had replaced top candidates with others without valid reasons.

These anomalies were highlighted in a report prepared by the provincial list committee which was tabled in a heated provincial executive committee meeting last week.

In other cases‚ ANC members who had lost the contest in BGMs would wait until the community meetings – where prospective candidates for the ward were paraded – to get themselves or their favoured candidate voted in as the top contender.

Mabuyane said screening committees were expected to go back to branches and report on any concerns about the final candidates list.

“We did say we want popular candidates endorsed by public meetings‚ but we never gave instructions that the public must vote on these names‚” Mabuyane added.

The ANC has faced resistance in some communities‚ with disgruntled branches marching to the provincial office in King William’s Town to voice their displeasure.

Anger over ANC candidate selection flared in Port Elizabeth too‚ where Ward 45 candidate Siphiwe Plaatjies fell victim on Tuesday to his home being petrol-bombed as he and his wife lay sleeping.

The attack has triggered claims by Nelson Mandela Bay ANC elections head and chief council whip Litho Suka of a war being waged against people on the list in the Bay.

“We are all concerned because it seems to me there is a low-intensity war being waged quietly‚ intimidating people for having stood for the ANC candidates list‚” Suka said.

Other candidates on the list were receiving threats‚ he added.

Plaatjies‚ 43‚ said he woke up at about 2.30am to barking dogs and a fire when his Zolile Nogcazi Road home was petrol-bombed.

Shards of glass in front of the main entrance to Plaatjies’ home were evidence of the suspects attempting to throw one of the petrol bombs through the entrance.

Plaatjies said fortunately a high boundary fence affected the arsonists’ aim and the bomb hit a wall.

Another one was tossed through the window of a spare bedroom and the distinct smell of fuel still hung in the air on Tuesday.

No one was injured and no arrests have been made.

Tempers also flared and insults flew when Bay ANC members from wards 22‚ 32 and 54 clashed with their regional leaders over lists three weeks ago.

Mabuyane said other problems in the province were technical issues relating to some candidates‚ with both proportional representation and ward candidates being recorded with incorrect ID numbers. In other cases candidates registered to contest in more than one ward.

Said Mabuyane: “In some areas our members and supporters regard this as part of a manipulation.

“It is not. We intend correcting those problems‚ but unfortunately we can’t do that now.

“It has been made clear that there will be no opportunity to correct that by the June 20 deadline.” -— Additional reporting by Tremaine van Aardt

- TMG Digital/Daily Dispatch

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