NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa's ruling party supporters riot over poll candidate


Posted on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 15:09

South Africa's ruling party supporters riot over poll candidate

By Crystal Orderson

File photo©OBED ZILWA/AP/SIPASupporters of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) have brought the country's capital city to a standstill after days of protests over the selection of a mayoral candidate ahead of August's local government elections.

ANC members took to the streets of Pretoria on Sunday after the party named former Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate. The party says at least one person has died in the skirmishes amid widespread destruction of property.

At least 20 buses and a police vehicle were also burnt on Monday night as the protests intensified.

ANC supporters say they do not want Didiza to represent them because she does not come from their area. Her selection was seen as an attempt by the ANC to heal a widening rift between supporters of current mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and his deputy Mapiti Matsena.

The protestors say they want Ramokgopa to be the party's mayoral candidate, a demand that has been rejected by the ANC.

Meanwhile, police officers that were on leave have been recalled to help deal with the chaos especially in the Mamelodi and Attridgeville areas where protestors barricaded roads by burning tyres.

The government has appealed for calm and a peaceful resolution of disputes over the mayoral candidate.

Pretoria is considered to be one of the three metros that would be difficult for the ANC to win as opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been making serious inroads.

Other battle grounds would be Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay).

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos for a local broadcaster showed that the DA enjoyed more support among likely voters at 33 percent, with ANC been backed by 28 percent of the voters while EFF had 10 percent.

South Africa would hold local government elections in August and the ANC is expected to struggle in the polls following a series of scandals that involved President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma has in the past few months survived attempts to impeach him over allegations of corruption.

The country's cities have also been hit by protests over poor service delivery in recent months.

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