The ANC in ward 14 recently put forward a 33-year-old woman as its candidate for the position of councillor at the next local government elections with the belief that fresh ideas and creative minds will help accelerate service delivery.
Vuyiseka Bomela of Kwazakhele Township in Komani defeated another youth, Mandla Sibozo, in two of three voting districts in the ward.
Bomela’s first victory was achieved at a meeting held in the street opposite the Queenstown Child Care Centre voting district in Kwazakhele, attended by more than 100 (mostly elderly) residents recently.
Two more polls were held – one at the Apostolic Faith Mission voting station in Unifound, also won by Bomela, and another at Sizamele Day Care Centre – won by Sibozo.
Sibusiso Kamte, convenor of the electoral committee given the responsibility of the candidate selection process at the Lizo Ngcana branch general meeting (BGM) recently, introduced the two candidates to residents.
The young duo had been given the nod at the BGM.
Residents welcomed them despite some calls for other names to be considered. Those names, however, fell by the wayside after failing to make the threshold of 51 votes.
One such name was that of Thobile Mdlela. He was unsuccessful after a vote by a show of hands gave him less than the required 51 votes. Local resident Siphiwo Bavuma also did not make it, with only 38 of the people at the Kwazakhele meeting voting for him.
The other would-be candidate fell short due to a technicality – he was either not registered at the local voting station or was nominated by an outsider (someone not registered at the Queenstown Child Care Centre voting station).
Asked by a resident if the meeting was an ANC or residents’ gathering, Kamte explained that it was for all residents, including those who were party members or just supporters.
“The meeting is for the residents, but it was called by the ANC. Out of this meeting an ANC candidate will come out,” he said, adding: “Everyone has a right to stand. We check whether you are from the ward, whether you are on the voters’ roll and then there is the threshold (51 votes). A name raised by a person who does not appear on the roll will stand down.”
After a lengthy back-and-forth exchange that resulted in a handful of fed-up elderly residents walking out of the meeting, it was first agreed that voting should be done by a show of hands but later changed to a secret ballot. Bomela walked away as the winning candidate and went into the next elections at the two remaining voting stations with a slight lead.
She told The Rep she was pleased that the residents had given younger people recognition.
One resident stated: “We support them, but when we have grievances, they must be responsive.”
Kamte said with young people in the lead, the ANC was looking for fresh minds, ideas and creativity. “Even at council, age will start coming down. We want services to get to people.”