Tengo ‘wants to serve community’

Clergyman steps up as independent candidate in by-election

Reverend Xolani Tengo
Reverend Xolani Tengo

Clergyman the Rev Xolani Tengo wants to bolster his political career, putting his hand up to contest Nelson Mandela Bay’s Ward 20 by-election as an independent candidate.

Tengo, 58, claimed he was answering the call from residents who wanted him to run as their councillor.

He said he had been staying in the area known as KwaNdokwenza since 1989, fighting for its improvement, which was why he wanted to run for councillor.

“Ever since I stopped fighting, there’s been no improvement or development in the area,” he said.

Tengo said there were more than 240 families in the ward living without toilets or running water in their homes and should he become councillor, this would be one of his key priorities.

“I want to serve the community, the entire ward, and improve service delivery here.

“There are house in Kwazakhele that need rectification because they have water running into them.

“There’s a high rate of drug use in this ward and there are lots of shebeens also.

“I don’t know how the [former] councillor [Bongo Nombiba] allowed this to happen,” Tengo said.

The vacancy in the ward came as Nombiba (ANC) was sentenced to five years in prison last month.

He was found guilty of fraud and money laundering in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court. Nombiba was arrested by the Hawks in 2016 for defrauding the municipality of R20 000, which was meant for the Thulamangwane Community Project, a non-government organisation which cares for the elderly and cleans schools in the community.

Tengo famously left the ANC two years ago after having been a member of the party for 27 years, and joined the EFF. At the time, he accused the ANC of having lost its moral fibre.

Tengo said the community was very comfortable with him, which contributed to his running as an independent. However, he was not opposed to the idea of running under the banner of the EFF.

“If the EFF wants me to run as a member of the EFF then I’ll run.

“But I am wanted by the people,” he said.

Asked if the ANC had a candidate to run in the by-election, ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula said the party was still finalising the matter.

IEC regional supervisor Crosby Bacela confirmed the date of the by-election as July 25, adding that if a candidate wanted to run as an independent, he or she would need 50 signatures from registered voters in the respective ward.