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North West - Sixty-year-old Beauty Xalabile told ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday that residents of the Khuma Hostel in Matlosana, North West, would have stoned his convoy had the regional ANC leadership not come to prepare them for his door-to-door visit.
Xalabile, seemingly fed up with empty promises by ANC councillors in her community, thanked the local leaders for coming to prepare them for Ramaphosa’s visit, and for leaving some well-needed groceries behind.
The regional leaders had also convinced the locals to register to vote in the general elections but the conditions under which residents live at the dilapidated hostel had forced them to take a resolution to boycott elections.
Such is the underlying anger in many communities where Ramaphosa and his fellow ANC leaders are trying to convince voters to give them a fifth chance to govern South Africa.
Utter disdain by councillors at local level, poor planning and budgeting by municipal officials and the failure to communicate with those waiting for promises to be fulfilled are familiar complaints that Ramaphosa will face throughout the election campaign.
However, Ramaphosa tried to downplay the extent of the electoral mutiny against the ruling party due to the poor performance of out-of-touch councillors who abandon their responsibilities after they are elected.
Residents of Khuma told Ramaphosa they had to organise a protest against their ward councillor, Selina Sithole, to force her to hold a community meeting, but Ramaphosa was unconvinced.
“The majority of ANC councillors are very hard working and they consult with their communities regularly. Though people like to say they are not doing their work, they are also carrying a heavy burden of the constraints they face in local government.
“This is also the same situation here, where the hostels were supposed to be demolished in 2006 already, but the money was not enough and it was diverted to nearby Jouberton.
“The plan was that once there were enough funds the project would go ahead,” said Ramaphosa.
He conceded that part of the problem was that such issues and the reasons why some things were not happening were a result of lack of feedback to communities.
He continued with the ANC’s good story narrative, and repeated President Jacob Zuma’s assertion that the party was the victim of its own successes because it was delivering successfully to some communities, raising the ire of those who were yet to see more housing and other developments.
Knowing that the likes of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the DA are also campaigning in the same areas where disgruntlement with the ANC has reached a boiling point, the party’s number two could not resist taking a swipe at opposition parties.
Ramaphosa described some of the opposition’s manifesto promises as “reckless”, saying none of them had any real experience in government.
“They go around promising people things they know they cannot deliver.
“Their promises go as far as being reckless.
“They have no experience in governing, which is something the ANC has been doing.
“When we talk about what we can do, we know what we are talking about,” said Ramaphosa.
In true electioneering style, Ramaphosa will continue to dish out election T-shirts and remind the electorate of their long relationship with the ANC.
This appears to be working as disgruntled voters like Xalabile were wearing ANC T-shirts by the time Ramaphosa was done promising them he will personally monitor progress on demolishing the Khuma Hostel and building new houses for its dwellers.