FOR the first time, the ANC has made public its mayoral candidates, but in Tshwane — one of the key metros it stands to lose in the August 3 local government elections — it failed to come to a consensus on who should lead.
There is argument that particular candidates could make or break the ANC’s election in the city, SA’s administrative capital.
An Ipsos poll released last week predicted that the DA held 49% of the city’s positive public sentiment.
The ANC held a special national executive committee meeting in Pretoria on Saturday to finalise its mayoral candidates for the country’s eight metros and strategic municipalities. However, it failed to reach a decision because of conflict on who its Tshwane mayoral candidate should be.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters the party’s Gauteng provincial executive committee was “not convinced” of the three names submitted by the regional executive committee.
This led to the national executive committee resolving that a delegation would go to Tshwane to consult the party’s structures on who the candidate should be.
Mantashe would not say who the prospective ANC candidates were, but that two alternative names that had been proposed would be taken to the branches and the regional executive committee.
It is understood that the regional executive committee wanted current mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to return, but this was rejected by the provincial executive committee. A possible replacement for Ramokgopa is said to be ANC MP and House chairwoman Thoko Didiza, but she was apparently not happy about having to take a pay cut if she was to resign from Parliament and take up the position of mayor.
Gauteng deputy secretary and former Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa is reported to be the second name to go to branches for approval.
There has been unhappiness over the candidate-nomination process in Tshwane, with communities complaining that candidates have been imposed on them. This led to a number of protests.
Mantashe said the party would deal with the unhappiness by “engaging structures”, but there was a difference between “genuine problems” and a situation in which people who wanted to be councillors got communities to protest.
“It’s not about the individual. If you have not been elected now or confirmed as a candidate, there is always a tomorrow in the ANC, and we want to educate our members about that,” he said.
The problem with the candidate-nomination process was that people treated it as a life-and-death situation, Mantashe said.
Saturday’s national executive committee meeting, which was not attended by President Jacob Zuma because of a prior engagement, was delayed due to the discussion on Tshwane’s candidate and only finished shortly before midnight.
The ANC in Gauteng said a meeting with party structures on Sunday regarding the Tshwane mayoral candidate had to be postponed so that issues could be attended to.
Provincial spokesman Motalatale Modiba confirmed there had been some “confrontation” at the venue. “Violence cannot be encouraged or tolerated,” said Motalatale, condemning the action of some members for the action.
According to reports, the violence broke out ahead of the announcement of the candidate.
Modiba said no official announcement had been made.
The mayoral candidates for the country’s seven other metros were: Johannesburg — Parks Tau; Ekurhuleni — Mzwandile Masina; Nelson Mandela Bay — Danny Jordaan; Buffalo City — Xola Pakati; eThekwini — Zandile Gumede; Cape Town — Xolani Sotashe; and Mangaung — Olly Mlamleli.
While the choice of candidate for Tshwane hangs in the balance, ANC leaders including Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize were on Sunday in Nelson Mandela Bay, where Jordaan was introduced as mayoral candidate.
Jordaan was appointed Nelson Mandela Bay mayor in May 2015 to turn around the ailing metro after a string of bad appointments.
With Natasha Marrian