Many branches of the ANC converged at various schools and community halls this past weekend to nominate candidates to contest the upcoming local government elections set for October this year. The meetings were preceded by the election of the new members for the Branch Executive Committees (BEC) most of whom were shrouded in controversy.

The first sitting of the Khujwana leg of the meetings was aborted when some members from the neighbouring Segabeng village protested that that there were irregularities as the number of the people in attendance did not equal the number of Identity Documents scanned before the meetings could commence. At the second leg, though the meetings finished on time, the issue escaped questioning.

According to a branch member who attended the meetings, the main problem was when branch leaders tried to block people on the basis that their membership was not in good standing despite having been invited to attend the meetings. He said that it happened mostly when “attendees were those who are going to push the agenda of the day. They will do everything to have their way.”

On Sunday, dozens of party faithfuls consisting mostly of pensioners and members of one particular church at Ntwanano settlement, converged at the Khujwana School to nominate people who will fight it out for the position of a councillor in the ward. Khujwana falls under Ward 16 of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM) and is comprised of Ntwanano, Segabeng, Haenertsburg, and Lepelle Northern Water.

During the meetings which were preceded by a complete session of the Branch Executive Committee in which members interested in contesting the election were asked to declare their intentions, everything remained calm and proceeded on schedule. “It was like a farewell ceremony for the outgoing councillor, Roniel Rikhotso as most people attended to make sure there was a new change in leadership. Even the disruptors were calm,” said the member.

After deliberations about the terms and conditions on the election of councillors, nominations for the three people who will contest the position of the councillor for the ward started. Collen Stolz led the pack with 55 votes, followed by Danisa Matukana with 25 votes and Thoiler Mboweni walked away with nine votes for the third position. The names will be submitted to the BEC and the PEC of the ANC for a final decision.

Collen Stoltz who resides at Ntwanano, is employed by the Department of Health and served as the chairperson of the branch for more than four consecutive terms. He was mostly supported by the youth. Danisa Matukana, who resides at Khujwana is member of the ANCWL and worked in the EPWP programme. She was seen as the successor to the councillorship, while Thoiler Mboweni works for Justice, is a church elder and long-time BEC member.

At Lenyenye, the meeting also took place on Sunday at the community hall where the incumbent councillor, Justice Ramodipa, who had already served two consecutive terms could not secure the nomination. He thus accepted to be nominated as the Proportional Councillor where he will be contesting with other nominees from the other wards.

Another meeting to nominate councillors took place at Khopo and Moime where nominations for the current councillors to serve another term nearly led to the collapse of the conference. The Lenyenye meeting was preceded by a protest by the community members who closed the road leading to the Thabine Water Works, accusing residents of Mosorong of blocking water passing through their village.