ANC woos candidate

Resident Thembani Joko.

Prominent ANC leaders apparently tried to woo a former member, who quit the party in June after 20 years to contest the upcoming elections as an independent candidate.

While campaigning in Kraaifontein on Tuesday July 19, ANC mayoral candidate Xolani Sotashe and NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane visited the Swakamisa Street home of Mawethu Sila, who is contesting Ward 6.

Mr Sila says the two ANC big guns spent at least an hour at his house begging him to return to the ANC. He claims they chased away journalists trying to report on the meeting.

But Mr Sila, who announced he would run as an independent after the being left off the ANC’s candidates’ list in July, said he had told Mr Sotashe and Ms Mokonyane that he wasn’t interested, even after they had offered him a position as a councillor. Mr Sila said he would stay true to his pledge to the people of Wallacedene to run as an independent (“Ex-ANC man takes independent route to poll,” Northern News, July 13).

Mr Sotashe, however, denied Mr Sila’s version of events. He confirmed he and Ms Mokonyane had visited the Wallacedene community leader at his home, but they had not tried to lure him back into the ANC with the promise of a councillor position or any other deal.

“We were going door-to-door and spoke to a lot of people in the community,” Mr Sotashe said. He denied that the meeting had been longer than an hour.

“Instead, as soon as we started pitching our ideas for the community, he explained why he left the party. We told him we respect his decision.”

Ms Mokonyane could not be reached for comment at the time this edition went to print.

Thembani Joko, who lives across the street from Mr Sila, said the ANC leaders had visited his house “for about five minutes” on Tuesday July 19, handed out the party’s T-shirts and told him it was important the ANC won Kraaifontein. They had then visited Mr Sila for more than an hour, he said.

Another of Mr Sila’s neighbours, Thandiswa Kwambi, recalled Mr Sotashe and Ms Mokonyane warning her and her family not use the ANC shirts as pyjamas, before paying a lenthy visit to her neighbour. “We saw them go into (Mr Sila’s) home. They stayed longer there than they did here,” she said. She also said the meeting had gone for more than an hour.