South Africa, Durban – Despite violence monitor Mary de Haas insisting yesterday that there was a clear and present threat of violence in the run-up to the political and government elections.
She said whoever got elected would have an influence on the running of the city, which boasts a R46 billion annual budget. Others would be elected into the city council, which she said was a much-contested area given the influence on tender issuing which councillors enjoy. Some 62 councillors face charges in the multimillion-rand corruption case before the Hawks, relating to a refuse removal tender.
“I am very worried about the threat of violence in the run-up to the conference, especially given its links with local government elections next year,” said de Haas.
“None of the fundamental problems experienced in previous elections, especially local government, have been addressed.”
In a document titled “The Killing Fields of KZN”, analysing violence ahead of local government elections, De Haas says since the 2007 Polokwane national conference, changes that happen in the ANC have been “inextricably linked to internecine violence”.
But ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela was adamant yesterday that intra-party tensions had been eradicated. He said this was achieved through a vigorous educational campaign on democracy and political processes, which has been led by a team involving veteran politicians Sipho Gcabashe and Willies Mchunu.
“We are confident that we have covered enough ground to ensure that comrades are educated to be politically tolerant and allow democratic processes to run smoothly and accept whomever to be put forward as a candidate. As well as accept any outcome of the election,” Ntombela said.
Regarding the conference, Ntombela said all hands were on deck, with the crucial conference, which has an impact on the local government elections next year, expected to be held early in the year.
Following its disbandment by the provincial executive committee, the biggest region in the province has been led by an interim regional task team.
He said the ANC was busy ensuring individual membership was up to date since the party had adopted a new online membership registration system.
For the powerful positions of chairperson and secretary, the contesting candidates are expected to be Thabani Nyawose, currently branch secretary at the Bluff-based Ward 66, and disgraced former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who has been charged in a R400m Durban Solid Waste tender corruption case last year. She is out on R50 000 bail.
The secretary position will be contested by Bheki Ntuli of the KwaXimba based-Ward 1 and Musa Nciki of Inanda’s Ward 69.