South Africa’s road to the upcoming municipal elections has been marred with protests and murders in what is being dubbed the most crucial election since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
The country’s capital, Tshwane, has seen violent protests with many of its townships deemed no-go zones following the announcement of the ruling party’s mayoral candidate, Thoko Didiza.
A member of the ruling party, the African National Congress, was shot dead on Sunday outside the Tshwane Events Centre just as the party was planning to announce Didiza’s candidacy.
"A member of the ANC passed away and several others were injured. The ANC condemns this behaviour in the strongest terms and will act decisively where it is proven that any of our members were responsible for the shooting,” ANC’s Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, told reporters on Monday.
After the Didiza announcement, parts of Tshwane went up in flames leaving a trail of destruction. Community members are calling for their preferred candidate.
It seems the unhappiness stems from the apparent imposition of outsider Didiza on the Tshwane ANC branches‚ which had nominated current mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa or the regional deputy chairperson Mapiti Matsena for the post.
The protests are now impacting businesses. The BMW Group plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, has cancelled its late shift in anticipation of a higher than normal absenteeism rate. With public transport being affected by the protests, many other businesses will be short-staffed or forced to close their doors.
The run-up to the August 03 elections has seen a number of murders allegedly linked to fights over who will run the ruling party in KwaZulu-Nata and the North West. The fact that this violence has spread to the capital itself is a major shock to South Africans.