The leadership of the civic organisation Independent Komani Residents’ Association (Ikora) is at loggerheads over misrepresentation ahead of the local government elections, following the organisation chairperson and secretary’s decisions to contest as independent candidates.
Spokesperson Zolile Xalisa has accused chair Xolani Ngxathu and secretary Thulani Bukani of misleading community members by canvassing as independent candidates in wards four, six and eight under the logo of Ikora in a quest to win votes. Xalisa, who condemned the action, has indicated that this was not mandated by the organisation as Ikora was not contesting the upcoming elections.
“There is nothing wrong in being an independent candidate. It is their democratic right, but we reprove them using the organisation for their campaigns. This shows that they might defraud processes of the IEC and the organisation itself. We distance ourselves from that,” he said.
“ My thinking is that when someone decides to go independent, they identify themselves outside of the organisation. We urge people not to be misled by people who want to be in power through votes of the organisation. In short, we want to put it out there that Ikora is not contesting the elections, only individuals are contesting.” Xalisa said the matter will be reported to the IEC offices.
In his response Bukani, however, described Xalisa’s statements as misrepresented facts confirming that the organisation experienced challenges in the registration process for Ikora to contest the elections. He stated that all leaders were informed when meetings were called which Xalisa failed to heed. “Ikora called a public participation meeting in wards four and six when people were given an opportunity to elect their credible candidates to contest in the local election. In ward four Xolani Ngxathu was elected. There was a contest and he won by a large number. In my ward, I was elected unopposed to be a candidate.”
Bukani said in their last meeting which, according to him, Xalisa did not attend, they took a decision to contest as individual candidates under iKora. “As an alternative to the challenge we faced with the registration process, he (Xalisa) submitted on our Whatsapp group, that we look for another political party we could use to contest elections. We were all opposed to that because we cannot introduce something new to the people at this time. If we contest with another party, it would be a contradiction to what we have told the people.”
Bukani added that Xalisa made the submission in the hope of becoming a proportional representation (PR) councillor. “We cannot reduce an organisation to a PR seat and divide the community because members support iKora as a civic organisation. If we join forces with any political party we will be politically aligned,” he said.
“He must stop being used by the ANC to discredit all we are doing for the community. If he is not happy he must go to court. In Ikora, we do not have a supreme leader. He must go where he will be recognised as a supreme leader. We are not contesting Ikora here. We did not want to disappoint the communities that elected the councillor candidates.”
A woman who spoke to The Rep on Sunday during registration expressed their support for Ngxathu and Ikora. Sindiswa Kobese would place her hopes in Ngxathu and Ikora at the upcoming local government elections.
Kobese said Ngxathu was the right person to change the state of service delivery in Ezibeleni. “Look at our roads. Refuse collection has not been taking place, but we are seeing movement now because elections are around the corner. We do not get help from the current councillor, he favours his own people. But Ngxathu represents us. Even when we are hungry, Ikora is able to help, and that was long before the elections. They help needy families by collecting unused clothes and donate. Ngxathu does a lot of things, he motivates us.”