Independent candidates in Sebokeng, Emfuleni, south of Johannesburg, say they want to depolitisize local government and introduce professional leadership in municipalities.  

The One South Africa Movement under the leadership of Mmusi Maimane has introduced a number of independent candidates to the media today that will be running in November’s local elections.  

LGE 2021 | Independent candidates in Emfuleni unveiled:

The independents are running under the banner of the citizen-led New Horizon Movement. 

Tasha Venter is one of the 45 independents under the banner of the citizen-led New Horizon Movement that will be running in all the wards in Sebokeng, Emfuleni. The local authority, which has been under the administration of the Gauteng Provincial Government since 2018, is plagued by poor service delivery and water shortages.  

Another independent candidate, Ernest Nkopane who is running in Ward 34, says enough is enough.

“The politicians in general from 1994 to date have proven failure, not just in Sedibeng but across the country. The third thing that is so much, so much that we have to accept the abnormality and make it normal is the corruption, you know. Corruption that is looted and hidden under your BEE, your tender system and all those things. So, basically, we are saying we are tired and it’s time for us as independent citizens, regardless of your political parties, regardless of your affiliation to stand up and take action for the future generation.”

Addressing residents along the dusty, sewage-strewn streets of the township, Bishop Vincent Jones, who will be contesting the Mayorship of Emfuleni Municipality, proposes a total rehaul of the current system.

“Let’s take all party politics out of local government. We are not talking about one political party. We are saying that all party politics does not belong to local government. And number two, we are saying let’s professionalise. We are going to put the right people, qualified people in the right positions. And number three, we are going to clean local municipality; no corruption, no cadre deployment, no tender system.”

Maimane is assisting the New Horizon Movement take power back to the people. His organisation is training various groups of independents in 12 municipalities across the country on how to run for election and ultimately understand how local government is run.  

The groups are using section 15A of the Electoral Act, which allows for the registration of an organisation to run for elections, without being registered as a traditional political party. It also allows independents to register as a conglomerate to gain the benefit of the proportional representation vote.

“These are people from the community, located close to the community and will remain in the community because, at the end of the day, if you don’t have a New Horizon Movement as we have it, you end up in a scenario where independents have been allowed to stand in this country for a long time in local government. The problem is that when they have won, there is no way to hold them accountable. What we are saying is that we want accountability to operate locally with New Horizon Movement.” 

There are 911 independents running in the November poll, slightly up from the 2016 local government elections. They hope to capitalise on a citizenry that they believe has grown weary of political parties and their often-undelivered promises.