Protests continue in South African capital over ANC mayor choice

Protests in townships around the South African capital, Pretoria, continued on Tuesday after it was announced that the current mayor didn’t get backing from the ruling African National Congress to run again in upcoming local government elections.

Protesters are burning tires and barricading roads, Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department Spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, said by phone.

The violence started on Monday after it was announced that Tshwane municipality Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa will be replaced by Thoko Didiza as the candidate for the ruling party. South Africa will hold elections on Aug. 3, when voters will elect mayors and councilors for the country’s 278 municipalities. Tshwane municipality, which includes Pretoria, is one of the important centers the ANC is at risk of losing, along with the commercial hub of Johannesburg and the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

The ANC “condemns violence in the strongest possible terms,” spokesman Zizi Kodwa said by phone. “The provincial leadership has already been interacting with branches and regional leadership in the area and we will continue to do so to explain the decision.”

Ramokgopa in an interview with Johannesburg-based PowerFM on Tuesday said he supports Didiza’s nomination as mayor.