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ActionSA imploding after Mashaba snubbed his Soweto foot soldiers

A conflict is already brewing within ActionSA over the selection process of councillors as some of its aggrieved candidates and members accuse it of having sidelined them despite helping the party secure a electoral success during municipal elections.

The party has confirmed it received a formal grievance from a group of candidates from Soweto who accused ActionSA’s proportional representative list of being dominated by those with close ties to party leader Herman Mashaba.

In the complaint sent to the party’s national chairperson Michael Beaumont, the aggrieved candidates questioned the appointment criteria and alleged that those who had been favoured in the 44 seats the party received in Johannesburg were “those who have been taking pictures with the president”.

“Soweto constituencies and BCMs [branch campaign managers] feel that they are from a painful past in our former political formations. We have invested our time, efforts and resources to mobilise, recruit and contribute 21% of the City of Johannesburg, overall the largest contributor of the 16.5%. However, we were of the view that this is a different party because the leader (Mashaba) understands being betrayed,” the group said.

One of the candidates, Ntombi Nkosi, who contested ward 29 in Orlando East in Soweto, said the candidates felt cheated as they had been assured that they would be moved to the PR list if they did not make it.

“If they had the decency [they would have] come back to us and told us that they changed the process. We worked hard and brought people out in numbers and I only came after the ANC candidate in my ward. People who did not contribute are on that list while they did not bring people out,” Nkosi said.

The party also received a number of complaints from members over the lack of transparency regarding the selection process of PR councillors as well as the process of dealing with lodged disputes.

Beaumont insisted that the party’s candidate selection policy had been in effect since April and that candidates had been workshopped on how it worked.

“There was a window of time in which people could object or appeal against an outcome, of which a number of people did. Sometimes the appeals were upheld and in other cases they were not because there was no basis for the appeal,” Beaumont said.

“I think the sad reality is that some people get elected and some people don’t,” he said.

Beaumont accused the aggrieved candidates of engaging the party in bad faith and of trying to bring it into disrepute. He said he and Mashaba had directly engaged them over their waged fight with the party and its internal selection processes.

“We said if they want to sit down and talk, we will talk as responsive leadership, but not under the threat of you going to the media because now you are holding us over the barrel of a gun and we don’t take that approach,” Beaumont said.

He said the party was planning to take disciplinary action against the members who were involved in the spat with the party.

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