Mawethu Sila, Kraaifontein Community Police Forum chairman, quit the ANC over the party’s list squabbles last month after more than 20 years with the movement.
He will contest the municipal elections as an independent candidate on August 3 – and he has vowed to grab 10 000 voters from both the ANC and DA in Wallacedene come election day.
He said he had decided on Thursday June 2 to run for office, after “receiving pressure from the community”. He said his track record spoke for itself.
“I’ve been fighting for years for the Wallacedene community, and I sought no monetary gain from it.”
The violent protests that rocked Tshwane in reaction to the ANC announcement of its mayoral candidate showed that people wanted their voices heard, he said. However, he condemns the violence and asked Wallacedene residents to vent their frustrations at the ballot box.
“The impression on the ground is that people really want my candidacy. I hope it reflects on the ballot, too. I’d be satisfied with 10 000 votes and more,” he said.
Asked where he thinks that number will come from, Mr Sila said DA and ANC supporters would vote for him.
“We are not affiliated to any political party; we expect the voters to come from all corners of our community… We also will include the community in decisions, and we will take decisions with one another. It will not be a top-down type of thing.”
The former South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) regional chairman is confident he has what it takes to lead Ward 6 and tackle a range of issues, including “racially biased” service delivery as well as water and sanitation.
Asked why he had left the ANC, Mr Sila, after a deep sigh, said: “The ANC is no longer what I had loved over the years. The ANC remains to have good policies, but they’re abandoned. No one implements them.”
Professor Fanie Cloete, of Stellenbosch University’s School of Public Leadership, said Mr Sila’s chances looked very good, considering his involvement with the CPF.
However, Professor Cloete warned that Mr Sila would need to move strategically if he made it to sub-council.
Isolation and a lack of funding were among other challenges independent candidates faced.
“He can draw many votes. It seems a lot of those would come from the ANC. A lot of independent-minded voters may vote for him,” Professor Cloete told Northern News.
“He seems likeable, but it will depend on how well-received he is (on election day).”
Professor Cloete said if Mr Sila garnered enough voters, he would become a crucial cog in Sub-council 2. He referred to how an independent had become mayor of Stellenbosch by exploiting the balance of power between the DA and ANC.
Independent candidates needed a lot of charisma and should be prepared to work extra hard before and after the elections.