What was meant to be the ANC’s platform on Ndlambe FM last Friday to discuss its plans for the 2021 local elections appeared to be a question and answer session for ANC chief whip on the Ndlambe council, Andile Marasi.
Despite Marasi saying he was not on radio to respond to claims made by the previous political parties including the ACDP, EFF and DA, this did not stop the influx of questions.
Marasi started off by saying: “I speak here on behalf of the African National Congress. I hear someone saying I am here to respond on what was discussed by the previous political parties.”
But Marasi seemed aware that such questions were inevitable. “We are here to listen to what the Ndlambe FM leadership wants to know so that I will respond to that, and if I did not respond I would not have killed anybody,” he said.
Marasi described the ANC as a listening party, saying from its inception it asked people’s views on how South Africa should be governed. He went on to state that the ANC does this up to the present time.
Without specifying the ANC’s problems, Marasi admitted it was facing some challenges. But he mentioned unity as the party’ strength.
“You see the problem is in this period we are being presented with challenges, but we have social transformation being the fundamental and important. I am talking about and the perspective of the ANC, which is about building unity and non-racial[ism] – that’s social transformation,” he said.
Marasi stressed that the ANC fought corruption. “The reality of the matter is, that I am bold here to say, the ANC is the leading party and one of the organisations that fought corruption,” he said.
One of the callers with questions was EFF councillor Xolisa Runeli, who said: “I am very worried about Mr Marasi when he speaks boldly as if they are fighting the corruption in the ANC. The same person who wants to be a mayor next year speaks like that as if they are fighting the corruption.”
Runeli went on to challenge Marasi, saying his political discussion was irrelevant to Ndlambe residents.
Runeli was adamant that if the ANC was serious about fighting corruption it would not have opposed the DA’s proposal in the recent council meeting to investigate the municipality for the tenders it awarded in the last three years.
“Andile is misleading to say the municipality awards bursaries to local pupils – there is no such thing. The municipality only assists with the registration and a laptop. A bursary covers all the tuition and fees,” he said.
In response Marasi said: “We are leading during a very difficult period where Satan is an angel and angels are Satans. Let me agree with my colleague it is a registration fee, not a bursary. It is a first time agreeing with him.”
However, Marasi did a U-turn. “The councillor who is part of the council does not understand the term democratic centralism. When the majority takes a decision whether you like it or not, you are bound to accept that,” he said.
It was at this stage that Ndlambe FM station manager Dodo Shuping weighed in, asking what must happen if the majority makes a wrong decision. Marasi responded by saying the ANC was not perfect.
Another caller identified as Mazana also weighed in, saying Marasi was representing the ANC and should not be addressed as an individual. He went on to say that if Marasi was interested in becoming a mayor there was nothing wrong with that as the ANC’s constitution allows him to do so.
The DA PR councillor Sikhumbuzo Venene also asked Marasi why the ANC had not supported the DA’s motion to suspend municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni pending the investigation.
In response, Marasi said: “Ndlambe residents require nothing less than full accountability from those they elected. I am saying the case has opened against the MM and the Hawks are doing the investigation so we are waiting for the outcomes.”