Seven expelled ANC councillors in Kimberley are expected to contest the upcoming by-elections at the Sol Plaatje Municipality as independent candidates. The councillors were fired by the ANC in 2018 for going against party policy when they voted with the opposition to oust then Mayor Mangaliso Matika. They say their decision to run as independent candidates for the 13 February by-elections is at the behest of the community. Seven wards in the Sol Plaatje Municipality will be highly contested after being vacant since October 2018.

Pius Tshite, one of the seven councillors who had to vacate after being fired by the ANC, and the other councillors agreed with opposition parties and some Kimberley residents that then Mayor Matika was corrupt and had to go.

“Fortunately for us, we did not go out and say we want to contest these wards. The community members came to us and said we must contest because they understood that we were expelled for defending their rights.”

The ANC remains unshaken that they will go head to head with councillors that once belonged to the party. The ANC’s Frances Baard regional secretary, Webster Dichaba maintains the councillors acted against party policy for their own selfish reasons.

“The claim that they acted on behalf of the community has never been tested. The real test is going to come now. These are ANC strong holds. We will be going out to reclaim all of these wards.”

The Independent Electoral Commission says it is all systems go. All parties, including the EFF and the DA, have registered for the by-elections in two weeks.