Some Mamelodi residents say they want Sipho Mtshweni for ward councillor or else they are not going to vote. Residents of Skierlik/Kopanong, east of Pretoria in Gauteng, are determined to have Mtshweni as their councillor.
During a visit to the area, Mtshweni told The Daily Vox in an exclusive interview that he was nominated but his name was removed. The African National Congress (ANC) Tshwane region removed his name as a candidate for the local elections.
When ANC’s deputy president, David Mabuza, visited the area on a door-to-door election campaign this past weekend, angry residents refused to allow him to address them. The residents demanded their preferred candidate Mtshweni be the ANC’s ward councillor candidate.
Mtshweni said when Mabuza was in Mamelodi, community members and ANC members did not want him to address them. He said it was because the people want him (Mtshweni) as their candidate. They don’t want the person the ANC is imposing on them.
He confirmed that at the time the deputy president was trying to address residents, community members including ANC supporters disrupted him, chanting his name “Sipho, Sipho, Sipho”.
“They didn’t want to listen to the deputy president and didn’t give him time to speak,” said Mtshweni. According to Mtshweni, he had to go on the stage and address the crowd in an effort to calm them down.
Mtshweni describes himself “as a down to earth simple man with a love for many in his own community”. He said he goes the extra mile for his community. “I am being driven by compassion and a deep feeling of sympathy for the suffering of others,” he said.
Mtshweni said his community work participation started in 2015 during the relocation of residents from Stoffel Park to Skierliek/Kopanong. He was staying in the Stoffel Park informal settlement at the time of the relocation.
Mtshweni saw that the ward councilor was not doing his best to help the community. He then decided to step in and help the community where he could. According to Mtshweni, the community loves him because whenever they need him he is always there for them. When a shack burned down in a blaze, Mtshweni said he was the first to be notified to help no matter what time.
When the lock down started some families were struggling with food. Mtshweni said: “I contacted social development and made arrangements for food hampers as a relief to poor families ravaged by poverty.”
“I love my community and even if I’m not elected I will still continue to help the needy,” he said. He was nominated to be a candidate as a result of his leadership and the love of his community. During the community participation process, he got the majority of the votes.
“I’m very happy that people trust me and want me to lead them and they believe in me. I won’t let them down and I always use my own money on community members,” said Mtshweni.
Now residents are saying they will not participate in the elections if their candidate is not contesting for ward councillor.
Community member Lerato Sebiloane said: “I love Sipho because he helped us more than our councilor and he is doing everything for the community.” Sibiloane said when her shack was burned down by fire, she was frustrated and the ward councilor did not help her. Instead Sebiloane said it was Mtshweni who assisted her.
“I remember he came running at 3am to help. He even offered an alternative place to stay with my kids without payment in return. I believe in Sipho because he helps many people during difficult times,” Sebiolane said.
Malerato Mahlangu, another community member said, “I remember during hard lock down we received food parcels because of his intervention. We urge the ANC to do the right thing and place Sipho as our favorite candidate.”
Mahlangu said Mtshweni went an extra mile for his community as far as spending his own money to make sure the community gets help.
On October 4, Mabuza revisited the area. He had a meeting with Mtshweni and the other candidate. According to the Sowetan, after the meeting Mabuza said: “I had a private discussion with the two candidates and it was resolved that after the election, the candidate that people don’t want will resign and I will give her a position in my office.”