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‘Full steam ahead’ for independents

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The ANC, DA and EFF will also be competing for these hotly-contested wards, while one candidate from the African Transformation Movement will contest Ward 12

File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

INDEPENDENT councillors said that they would be contesting “full steam ahead” in the by-elections that will take place in the Sol Plaatje municipal district today for special votes and tomorrow for mainstream voting.

The independent councillors include Kantse Gladys Monyame (who will be contesting Ward 9), Yvonne Qonga (Ward 11), Magdeline Mokgalagadi (Ward 12), Motlalepule Wapad (Ward 13), Boitumelo Stout (Ward 16), Puis Tshite (Ward 19) and Motsamai Molale (Ward 32).

The ANC, DA and EFF will also be competing for these hotly-contested wards, while one candidate from the African Transformation Movement will contest Ward 12.

The independent councillors, who were expelled from the ANC, stated that they would allow the court interdict to prevent the by-elections from continuing to take its course.

“In the meantime, we are ready to reclaim all our wards in Ipopeng, Arena, Dingaan hostels, White City, Santa, Witdam, Snake Park, Transit Camp, Promised Land, Newtown, Crutze Square, Zingiza Saka, Phutanang and Platfontein.”

They pointed out that even if they were reinstated by the ANC, “it would not be the same as before”.

“We would never feel completely at home in the organisation”.

They added that should the by-elections go ahead, the new incumbents would have to be removed as councillors if the court ruled in their favour, as the appointments would be considered to be “null and void”.

The independent candidates launched their manifesto on Sunday, where they are advocating for transparency, ethical and credible leadership, anti-corruption and urgent and quality service delivery.

Their emphasis is on “putting the community first”.

They are also campaigning for the recommendations of the Section 106 report investigation into Sol Plaatje Municipality to be implemented, as a matter of urgency, and for a forensic investigation to be conducted into the irregularities that were highlighted in the report.

Their manifesto calls for jobs to be created for people residing in their wards and for the finances of the municipality to be stabilised.

“Government and ANC leaders must be forced to pay their rates and taxes.”

The independent candidates explained that they “had nothing against” former Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika and that they had not acted outside of the ANC in the events leading up to their expulsion.

“We resolved only to serve the people, respond to the community’s outcry and follow our consciences as public representatives when council wanted to implement the R260 basic electricity tariff. We could not remain silent and condone the water shutdowns, the looting of state coffers and the blocking of electricity.”