Opposition ready to pounce on Zuma, ANC travails
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is making the most of the troubles of President Jacob Zuma to mount a serious challenge in the forthcoming municipal elections in Gauteng Province and beyond.
In an exclusive interview with Gauteng Guardian last weekend, EFF Secretary General, Godrich Gardee, said his party was “energised” following the Constitutional Court ruling that Zuma and the National Assembly had violated the Constitution in the Nkandla matter.
Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela in 2014 found that Zuma had benefited improperly from the expenditure after extensive state-funded upgrades to his rural homestead.
Last week, the Constitutional Court gave a unanimous judgment stating that the Public Protector’s report was binding and Zuma and the National Assembly had failed to uphold the Constitution.
Gardee revealed the EFF’s programme days after the court’s ruling.
He confirmed his party would contest in all the 239 municipalities nationwide.
“We deployed a minimum of five election monitors in each of the 3 000 voting stations nationwide. We have been energized by the Concourt ruling against ANC’s presidential corruption scandal this (last) week and we have increased our presence on the ground throughout Gauteng,” said Gardee.
“EFF hopes to do better because the electorate resonates with our election manifesto. Ahead of the 8-9th April final voter registration, we are encouraging all aspiring voters to register in numbers,” added Gardee.
Gauteng, the country’s economic hub has been Zuma’s African National Congress’ centre of power for decades.
However, at the municipal elections, the EFF hopes to take charge of the capital city, Pretoria, and Johannesburg with the view to change the political landscape of the country.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to win local municipal elections. The forthcoming elections are very crucial to EFF,” said Gardee.
“Every week, we meet on the ground to strategise on how best we can win almost all municipalities in Gauteng province, Nelson Mandela Bay, North West including Limpopo province, among others,” he added.
He said apart from the ConCourt ruling in their favour, EFF was also motivated by new members joining them after defecting from ANC.
Last week, a Limpopo chief, Hosi Hasani Mavambe of Mavambe Traditional Authority in Malamulele, publicly set alight an ANC T-shirt bearing President Zuma’s face.
He lamented he had grown tired of the controversial Nkandla issue and the ANC leader’s reported links to the Gupta family, a controversial Indian-South African business family.
The traditional leader has defected to the EFF.
“I believe that the EFF is the only party to restore the dignity of this country because our country has turned into a joke. Other countries are laughing at us,” said Mavambe.
A majority South Africans view the Nkandla scandal and the so-called Guptagate as among indications the administration of Zuma was prioritizing itself ahead of tackling prevailing challenges.
However, ANC spokesperson for Pretoria, Tebogo Joala, said his party was fully prepared for the forthcoming municipal elections.
“We are just waiting for the national manifesto to be announced on 15 April and thereafter dovetail our provincial one to suit the dictates of the national agenda. As usual, we are going to win the elections because we are a party of choice for the majority of South Africans.
“The selection of ward councilors to represent the party has started and we will continue our mandate to undermine some colonial injustices and deliver service to our people,” said Joala.
The country’s main opposition of the Democratic Alliance (DA) also confirmed their programme of action in both Pretoria and Johannesburg where they seek to wrestle power from ANC.
In Pretoria, DA is fielding Solly Msimanga as its Mayoral candidate while in Johannesburg the opposition confirmed successful businessman, Herman Mashaba, as its representative.
In the capital, it has embarked on door-to-door campaigns with a bid to oust ANC’s incumbent Kgosientso Ramokgopa. It aims to unseat Mayor Parks Tau in Johannesburg.
Msimanga says DA is on course to make history by defeating ANC in Pretoria.
“We are doing our homework well and we are on course for victory. DA is making significant strides in terms of support base and results have shown that we have gained more ground in the previously ANC-dominated areas,” an upbeat Msimanga said.
The 2016 municipal elections will be held at a date yet to be announced but falling between May 18 and August 16.
At the last polls held in 2015, ANC emerged with 62 percent of the vote.
There was a decline in the ruling party’s support.
In 2006, it had attained over 66 percent of the vote.
– CAJ News
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