ANC regional chairperson and current Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa says the party leadership will go back to the branches to discuss the mayoral nomination process.

“The leadership says it hears your plea. We resolve problems through engagements,” Ramokgopa told party members at a community hall in Atteridgeville.

“The leadership went on to take the decision that, because the situation is not adequate in Tshwane, they will meet with branch leaders to deliberate further on the matter.”

Townships in Tshwane have been burning since Monday when the ANC announced Thoko Didiza as the mayoral candidate for the upcoming local government elections in August.

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What rising protests in South Africa say about attitudes towards local government

Residents said they did not want Didiza and wanted Ramokgopa to continue leading the city.

While addressing party members and residents, Ramokgopa appealed to them to allow the leadership of the province, headed by Paul Mashatile, to explain the processes that would unfold.

“Our leadership is here.
They are humbling themselves. We heard that things are not going right. Roads and shops have been closed. Our intentions are to resolve that and ensure the situation returns to normal.”

The crowd interjected and chanted: “No”.

“Allow me to explain. Please listen to me,” he pleaded.

‘We built clinics and parks’
Ramokgopa gave a history of how he was elected into the position. He said that in 2011 the residents had given them a mandate to lead Tshwane to ensure they could change the situation of many people.

“You said, ANC we live in shacks and the youth said they are unemployed and requested us to change that. You also requested basic services, such as roads, to ensure you live like other people. The ANC elected the leadership to ensure that happened and out of that selected a mayor,” he said.

Ramokgopa added that, during that process, his name was nominated to lead for five years, working with other members and the community.

He said they built clinics and parks and also invited investors to create employment for the youth.

That statement was met by loud applause.

“It was a task we were given by you. ANC said we must continue the task of the party which is not a Ramokgopa task. ANC came back through its channels and went to branches to elect councillors and Proportional Representation in Tshwane. We had those meetings, despite others trying to stop our meetings,” he said.

Ramokgopa said the ANC said they must elect the head for the region going forward for the next elections. During that process, the party seriously scrutinised the situation in Tshwane.

“The ANC looked at the situation in Tshwane and country and decided on it. The Regional Executive Committee nominated three names which were submitted to the Provincial Executive Committee and then went to NEC. The same way they put Ramokgopa in, is the same way we elect leaders. ANC came up with a decision due to the tussles in the city and decided on a team to lead the city. It will be led by Comrade Thoko Didiza,” he said.

‘No Sputla, no vote’
The crowd started started chanting, “No, we don’t want her. No Sputla, no votes”.

Ramokgopa appealed to members to calm down and explained the importance of the ANC remaining in power.

“Comrades, I want to explain that we want to continue improving lives. We can only do that if the ANC is still in charge after August 3. It will only happen if you want it. I’m begging you,” he said.

The crowd became rowdy and he once again appealed for calm and explained that people would be given a chance to air their views.

“We will give you a chance. We didn’t come here to tell you things, but to also listen,” he said.

Ramokgopa also called on the community to allow taxis in the area to operate, but that plea fell on deaf ears.

“We also request that it’s important for our lives to progress, let’s allow taxis to move around.”

“No,” the crowd responded.

“If parents can’t go to work, they will be fired,” he said

The crowd chanted, “It’s fine. No Sputla, no vote”.

The media was requested to leave the hall after Ramokgopa’s address. – News24