ANC councillor wants police protection after threats from her own party

Everson Luhanga

An ANC ward candidate in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra has opened a case of intimidation with the police, saying she fears for her life in the run-up to the local government elections next month. 

Deborah Francisco is currently a councillor with the ANC in Ward 108 of the prominent township.

She received fewer votes than her rival for the ward candidacy for the November poll and gracefully accepted defeat.

However, she says she was surprised when she was summoned to the party’s regional office on 27 September where party officials informed her that she would be the ward candidate going forward and that her name had been registered on the ballot. 

The following day she received the candidate list, on which her name was duly printed. 

But Francisco’s fortunes changed soon after when a group of people began to dispute her nomination. 

Since then she has had insults hurled at her and has been threatened in public, forcing her to go to the police.

“One morning they even came to my doorstep to burn tyres. Luckily they were chased away by my neighbours,” she told Scrolla.Africa. “I’m not safe. I am pleading for protection from my party and the government.” 

Francisco refuses to step down.

“I am not resigning,” she says. The chairperson of the ANC’s Electoral Committee “Kgalema Motlanthe has indicated that all councillor election disputes will be resolved after the elections”. 

Francisco also pointed out that it was the ANC’s regional office and not herself who put her name forward and marketed her profile on the billboards.

“I don’t know why these people are fighting with me and not the regional office who picked my name,” she said.

The ANC regional spokesperson Sesabona Manganye told Scrolla.Africa that people who are being disruptive will be dealt with by the organisation as well as by the law enforcement agencies.

“At the moment, comrade Deborah is the ANC councilor for ward 108 in Alexandra who will be voted for on 1 November. No amount of protests will change that.

“We strongly urge members who have been disruptive to stop it and follow the guideline set by the organisation,” said Manganye.

Ward 108 was one of the wards that the ANC had failed to register with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) when the ruling party missed the initial deadline in August, though a decision was later taken to let the party contest it.

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Simphiwe Mbatha has confirmed that the police are investigating a case of intimidation in relation to Francisco but that no arrests have yet been made.