African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte announced on Thursday that 46% of the party’s candidates for proportional representational (PR) councillors and ward councillors are women.
She said the party was proud that women gained the confidence of their communities to be selected as ward councillor candidates.
Duarte was briefing the media on the status of the ANC councillor candidate registration process for the 2021 local government elections which are to be held on November 1.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) extended its deadline for political parties and independent candidates to register for the local government elections from its initial date of August 23 to September 21 after the ANC and other political parties failed register candidates by the initial deadline.
The ANC has registered 4 468 ward candidates, with candidates registered for 257 municipalities.
“Although women candidates are mainly found on our PR list, we are proud of the fact that women gained the confidence of their communities to be selected as ward councillor candidates as we all know that this is the year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Charlotte Maxeke,” said Duarte.
She went on to say that it was encouraging that women were affirmed but added that there was more to be done as many were still selecting men to be ward councillors.
Duarte stated that the party also had a diverse list of candidates representing people with disabilities, members of the LGBQTI community, as well as various community leaders.
There were also a number of young people on the list, with the youngest being 20 years old contesting in the Buffalo City Metropolitan. Johannesburg and Kouga local municipalities also have young candidates.
“We have insisted that the list must have a component of young people. Approximately 25% of our list is composed of young South Africans so that we can build for the future. I think they will bring a lot of new thought and new life into the local government sphere,” Duarte said.
CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE PARTY’S INTERNAL DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Duarte admitted that the party had many disputes that were unresolved but said it was committed to meeting with those involved after the elections to discuss and debate the concept of community involvement and being a servant of the people.
She said the party was aware that within its ranks there were people who were determined to subvert and undermine ANC rules and guidelines.
“I do want to say to you that it’s important that we also reaffirm that the ANC’s election committee ran the processes independently… Our task was to support in whatever way needed ... and this gives this process quite a great deal of independent credibility, but with it also comes a number of questions from people who did not want to go this route,” she said.
Duarte said there were branch leaders who still felt that they should have been the candidates whether the community agreed or not.
Meanwhile, three ANC supporters were killed in a drive-by shooting in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal during the party’s nomination process.
Duarte also mentioned that a number of people were removed from the list.