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Massive overhaul on the cards for eThekwini as more than 50 ANC councillors not returning

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Durban – THE political face of eThekwini Municipality is set for a dramatic change as more than half of the serving ANC councillors have not made it to the list of candidates submitted to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) this week.

The list consists of both those who will serve as ward councillors and proportional representation (PR) candidates.

The ruling party’s PR list features eThekwini municipal official Thabani Nyawose at number one position, a development that has fuelled speculation that he could be the next eThekwini mayor.

Current mayor Mxolisi Khaunda features at number 9 and ANC Youth League leader and current executive committee member Thanduxolo Sabelo is at number 7.

Former mayor Zandile Gumede does not feature in any of the lists.

The shake up of City Hall is seen as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s effort to rid the municipality of tainted characters, while some view this as a simple show of force against the Jacob Zuma-aligned Radical Economic Transformation grouping in the eThekwini region.

“This is going to make it so difficult for us to campaign for our beloved ANC in these elections when the leadership has decided to field individuals that are not wanted by the people, this is really disheartening,” said a party member from Cornubia. She said the purge was aimed at individuals that were supporting Zuma.

Another party member also expressed his reservations about the list, even questioning whether it had not been doctored. “There is no way that Nyawose could have tallied up such massive numbers to be on the top of the PR list. This process was manipulated in order to provide a certain outcome,” said the member. He warned against any consideration of making Nyawose the next mayor, saying such a move would yield disastrous results for both the ANC and the city of Durban.

“I would rather stick with Kaunda who has credentials having served as councillor earlier in his career, and was in the legislature and provincial cabinet before coming back here. What does Nyawose have?”

The branch member also predicted chaos for the next council term, saying that only the election of the regional leadership would bring about stability. He cited the failure to elect the new deputy mayor as a sign of a lack of leadership at regional level.

Also unhappy with the list is the ANC Women’s League which labelled it a betrayal of the ruling party’s principle of gender equity. Women’s League provincial secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela said they were becoming increasingly frustrated as their efforts drew minimal attention especially at regional levels.

“The problem for us as the Women’s League is that we are working with greedy men who always want to protect their interests, we have now seen this on the lists that have been compiled,” said Gabela. She said the next move would be to appeal to the ANC NEC to act on what they regard as the blatant flouting of ANC principles.

SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said they were disappointed with the lists’ make-up.

“Our view is similar to the one on the ground and that is of unhappiness over the lists which seems to reflect factionalism,” said Mthembu.

“The big question now is whether the ANC has capacity to self correct,” said the provincial secretary, stressing that they had expressed their unhappiness to the ANC’s provincial leadership. MKMVA leader Themba Mavundla said they were still seeking an audience with the ANC provincial leadership and would not comment before then.

The Mercury