Tlokwe municipality in Potchefstroom, North West. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/Independent Media

Rustenburg - Opposition parties in Tlokwe on Wednesday blasted the African National Congress (ANC) for hosting a service delivery blitz in Ward 4 ahead of the February 24 municipal ward by-elections.

“The Democratic Alliance in Tlokwe is not surprised that the ANC woke up from their deep sleep, one week before the city will embark on a very important by-election,” said Johan Zerwick, DA candidate in ward 4.

“For years now, service delivery issues are blatantly ignored in Tlokwe. The governing party will, however, go to any length not to let go of their power. Since yesterday [Tuesday], municipal teams are roaming the streets of ward 4, cleaning and painting and fixing. It is no co-incidence that this is also the most contested ward in this upcoming by-election,” he said.

Congress of the People (Cope), which is not contesting the by-election, said the service delivery blitz was an undue influence on voters.

“The Congress of the People is really disturbed by the shenanigans of the ruling party, but not surprised at all, as it is the norm of the ruling party to abuse state time and resources to campaign and they always get away with it, they are in fact disadvantaging other political parties and independents candidates, which cannot access such privilege,” said provincial spokesman Kenneth Maduna.

“We have 26 wards in Tlokwe, of which 19 of those wards are not taking part on the 24th February 2016 by-elections, which equally deserves that services, now why ward 4, just a week away to the scheduled by-elections.”

He called on the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to disqualified the ANC from contesting the by-elections.

“It is high time now for the IEC to show its independence by exercising its power as provided by the Act that governs them, to disqualify the ANC from taking part in these coming by-elections, as per Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000, Section 67, and Section 77 and 80 of the Act,” he said.

By-elections would be held in Tlokwe on February 24, following the Constitutional Court ruling in November last year, which set aside the outcome of the by-election held on 18 September 2013 in ward 18 and by-elections held on 11 December 2013 in wards 1, 4, 11, 12, 13 and 20. The court ordered that fresh by-elections must be held.

The North West provincial government said it was determined to reach each and every ward in its quest to take service delivery to all corners of the province.

“Today [Wednesday], the provincial government took its service delivery blitz to ward 4 in Potchefstroom within the Tlokwe local municipality,” the provincial government said in a statement.

It quoted Gontse Sekudu, the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District manager based in the office of the premier, saying the service delivery blitz was being rendered under the auspices of setsokotsane.

“Our objective to bring government services to this ward was achieved because we wanted to reach a wide spectrum of the rainbow nation and that is what we saw here today,” she said.

This was despite that the provincial setsokotsane programme was in the Moses Kotane local municipality in the Bojanala District.

Setsokotsane was in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District in September last year.