A Soshanguve ward councillor has obtained an urgent court interdict allowing him to take part in the upcoming municipal elections after the ANC’s national executive committee unexpectedly replaced him with a female candidate.
Judge Natvarlal Ranchod granted an urgent interdict in the high court in Pretoria, restoring Lucas Ngobeni as the duly elected nominee for Ward 89 in Soshanguve.
Ngobeni, supported by local community members, took the ANC’s executive committee and the IEC to court after learning that the party had decided to replace him with Maria Skhosana as the ANC nominee for Ward 89. The ANC and Skhosana did not oppose the application and the IEC said it would abide by the court’s decision.
Ngobeni has been the ward’s councillor since 2011 and said in court papers the ANC’s branch members in his community had twice elected him as their preferred nominee for the upcoming elections. He said Skhosana was never a candidate or a nominee and he was surprised when he was informed early in June that his ward had a different nominee.
According to Ngobeni, various other wards apparently had similar problems and the SA National Civic Organisation had also voiced their concerns to the ANC’s national office. He said his community strongly objected to Skhosana’s nomination and also signed a petition that was handed to the ANC’s national office in which they maintained they did not know Skhosana and that her nomination had led to civil unrest.
Ngobeni maintained his removal was the result of “political manoevring” and the only reason that was given to him was that he had been replaced with a female candidate to give effect to gender balance. He said the wife of the zonal secretary had approached him in front of other members of the party after his election in February and told him that he should not be celebrating because he had not won and that they were going to swap him with a woman because they had “political connections”.
He submitted that the ANC had ignored its own procedures in appointing Skhosana as nominee without a screening process and without her being vetted by the broader community.