My meeting with the Knysna Unity Congress (KUC) was one of the more friendly i’ve had with politicians this past month.
I interviewed Welcome Salaze (Ward 8 coordinator & KUC President), Mandlenkosi ‘Vincent’ Gana (Ward 8 candidate), Thandile Feni (Ward 3 coordinator) and Mbulelo ‘Jason’ Ntakumba (Party Secretary). Siyabulela Kolanisi and Sakhiwo Malahlana arrived later.
With the talk of “comrade this” and “comrade that”, i asked them if they were the ANC’s bastards; unhappy with mommy and daddy but hoping for their love. They laughed… and then explained why they’d left the ANC…
ANC SERVING THEMSELVES, NOT COMMUNITY
Their main dissatisfaction with the ANC was faction battles. They said that it had gotten to the point where internal struggles for power had become more important than serving the public. They realised that their communities were being left behind, some invisible to the Knysna Municipality.
Vincent expressed their worries: “Knysna has become so divided, like raindrops all over the place. We want to create unity, we want to build Knysna.”
KNYSNA UNITY CONGRESS
Consequently, they set up the Knysna Unity Congress (KUC) which, according to Thandile, “Doesn’t report to any branch province etc. We report to Knysna!”
Jason emphasised the point with, “Because we are Knysna based, we reject the processes of the ANC that serves itself instead of choosing candidates the people believe in.”
“Our focus is on service delivery, not politicking,” continued Welcome. “We’re fighting for clean governance.”
Their focus will be on the housing lists and ward committees. They claimed that what’s happening on the ground is not matching up with the order of the housing lists. They shared my concern that the Ward Committees were not fairly serving their areas because they had illegally become politicised, serving the party of the Ward winners instead of all.
What i liked most about the Knysna Unity Congress was (KUC) was their intention to be a community organisation more than a political one.
“Where another party wins a ward, we’re prepared to help that councillor,” said Welcome. “We want to support the values of the community, especially the old and the children. Values is more important than politics.”
KUC VERSUS ANC IN WARD 8
Like all small parties, their goal must be to at least win a proportional representation (PR) seat but they felt strongly that they had a chance at winning 3 wards.
I was surprised that Ward 8 was one of them considering ANC Mayoral Candidate Victor Malosi is running there too. Malosi is so confident of victory that he hasn’t put himself on the PR list (which usually acts as a back-up into power if a bigshot fails to win their ward). Malosi either has certainty that he’ll win or very big balls.
If the KUC managed to defeat him, the ANC’s Mayoral candidate wouldn’t exist.
The strength of new parties can never be tested by intentions, only by election results. August 3, the date set for the 2016 Municipal Elections, continues to build itself towards the expectation of it being an exciting and important day for Knysna.
Learn more about all the 2016 Municipal Election news and candidates.