The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - Residents in a squatter camp at Tlokwe in North West forced a high-profile ANC delegation led by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to flee on Monday.
Ramaphosa was accompanied by ANC North West provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo when they were confronted by angry residents who accused the ANC of visiting them only to get their votes.
The delegation was in ward 26 to campaign ahead of local government by-elections in the area on September 18.
Nine wards became vacant in July after ANC and DA councillors passed a motion of no confidence in former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle.
The ANC expelled 14 of its councillors, but their memberships were reinstated after the North West ANC was found to have failed to properly follow the party’s code of conduct.
However, none of the expelled councillors were included in the ANC list of those contesting, which prompted people like Stone Mahlabe to stand as independent candidates against the ANC.
Ramaphosa received a hostile reception. A group of men, women and schoolchildren broke into song when he was due to speak. He got out of his car and spoke briefly to some people, but was whisked away when the crowd became rowdy.
The residents also protested against the supposed presence of officials from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the ANC entourage.
Ntshepeng Ranosi was among a group of residents who vented their anger at Sassa officials.
“We know those officials. They went door to door last week, saying they will be providing us with food hampers. Now, the very same guys are here again, this time wearing ANC regalia.”
The sentiment was shared by most of the residents.
Some residents, who have been living in the informal settlement for more than 10 years, were adamant that they were visited by municipal officials and politicians only before elections.
“I doubt that the ANC mayor, Maphetle Maphetle, knows whether this settlement exists,” Absalom Madihe said.
“We want to see Oom Stone (Mahlabe) becoming our councillor. We had no water and toilets for many years.
“It was through Oom Stone’s efforts that two communal taps where installed for us,” he added.
The ANC candidate for ward 26, Oupa Mogoshane, who is challenging Mahlabe, described the protesters as a “group of drunkards who are seeking media attention”.
the DA in Tlokwe has accused Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini of planning to spend between R3-million and R5m to distribute food parcels ahead of the elections.
DA provincial leader Chris Hattingh said Dlamini was aiming to win the ANC votes.
Dlamini’s spokeswoman, Lumka Oliphant, dismissed this.
“It is unfortunate that the DA chooses to accuse Minister Bathabile Dlamini of this… She had been to Tlokwe last month and had promised a follow-up visit as she had agreed on deadlines with Social Development officials,” said Oliphant.