/ 2 October 2023

Pappas calls out ‘desperate’ ANC and its poor polling results

Umngeni mayor Chris Pappas greets a woman and her child at the KwaMevana NPO, where support materials were handed over. Photo supplied

uMngeni mayor and DA KZN premier candidate, Chris Pappas, has accused the ANC in the province of being desperate to get him “out of the way”.

This, he said, is ahead of next year’s crucial general elections where the ruling party in KZN is facing the risk of losing the province to a DA and IFP coalition.

The ANC in KZN has accused Pappas of using his mayoral position to ensure that an organisation linked to someone close to him received funding from the municipality.

However, Pappas told The Witness that the ANC’s accusations were “unsubstantiated”.

“The fact that they are content with just spreading these baseless rumours without providing evidence proves that they are merely politicking — they are desperate to claw [back] some support following a series of KZN by-election losses.

“The conduct of the ANC people is not surprising at all, particularly given that a recent poll has shown that the ANC/EFF coalition in KZN will be able to get only 46% of the vote in next year’s general elections,” he said.

According to Sizwe Mchunu, a former DA KZN provincial leader and now ANC member in the Moses Mabhida region, the uMngeni Municipality in the previous financial year approved a R100 000 grant for NPO uMngeni Tourism, which was previously chaired by Pappas’ ex-fiancé, Jean-Pierre Prinsloo.

Pappas, who a week ago was announced as the DA Premier candidate for next year’s general elections, questioned the timing of the claims by Mchunu, who has since lodged a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector.

“Why did it take him so long to raise the matter? It’s clear that there is a political agenda,” he said.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, who is also an ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) member, has already announced that her department would be launching an investigation into the allegations against Pappas.

Protest postponed

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in KZN was planning to stage a protest against Pappas in Howick on Monday, where the DA mayor’s offices are based.

ANCYL provincial task team (PTT) spokesperson, Sithembiso Ndlovu, on Sunday afternoon confirmed that the protest march had been postponed to Thursday.

“However, having said that, the ANCYL leadership will still travel to Howick on Monday to open a criminal case against Pappas at the local police station,” he said.

The ANCYL’s decision to postpone the protest came hours after Pappas issued a statement warning the ANCYL that the protest they were planning to stage on Monday was illegal.

“The organisers of the event have been advised of the illegality of their actions. uMngeni Law Enforcement, SAPS, private security, and community policing structures have an operational plan for the day and are prepared to handle any illegal activity that may take place.

“The organisers, ANC and the ANCYL, have failed to adhere to the law, in particular the Gatherings Act. This illegal activity will be handled in the appropriate manner in order to ensure that property and lives are protected,” Pappas said.

Asked whether the ANCYL’s decision to postpone the protest was informed by Pappas’ concerns around the legality of the demonstration, Ndlovu said it had nothing to do with Pappas’ “threats”.

“He is trying to intimidate us. As the ANCYL we don’t need anyone’s permission to stage a protest. You should make Pappas aware that there is currently a Constitutional Court ruling confirming that no permission is required for people to protest. So, even for the Thursday’s protest we won’t seek permission from anyone.”

Pappas was elected uMngeni municipality mayor following the 2021 municipal elections where the DA dislodged the ANC from power in the council.

This article first appeared in The Witness.