Bheki Cele told the time for empty elections promises is over
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AS the ANC continues to criss-cross the country canvassing for votes ahead of the November 1 local government elections, residents are taking the opportunity to vent their frustrations about empty promises.
Yesterday residents of the rural Mhlabathini area in Greytown in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands told ANC national executive committee member, Bheki Cele, that the time for empty election time promises is over.
Cele got a mixed reaction from residents, some of whom promised him that they would back the ANC at the polls while others said they would back it with strict pre-conditions.
The ANC is facing a fierce challenge in the Umvoti (Greytown) local municipality where it is governing with a slim majority.
In 2016 it lost the Umzinyathi district municipality to the resurgent IFP after a coalition with the National Freedom Party (NFP) in 2011 gave it control of the largely rural and agricultural district.
Kicking off his campaign, Cele visited the Mncwabe family where a senior family member, Neli Mncwabe, told him about their challenges.
Among the challenges, Mncwabe narrated to Cele and his team was the issue of water and social housing.
She pleaded with Cele that if the ANC led government should speed up service delivery, then their support is assured.
“Some of the greatest challenges we are facing in the area is water shortage and houses. If we can get that we will be happy,” Mncwabe said.
Cele, together with the leadership of the local branch of the ANC then visited the Majola family and almost similar issues of water and housing were raised.
Cele’s campaign got more serious when he went to the Buthelezi home to canvass for votes.
Although the family was excited to see him in person, the head of the family was frank with Cele, telling him that they feel neglected and a lot of empty promises were made to them.
Ntombibomvu Buthelezi counted a series of empty promises that were made to them as residents.
Among them was a promise of state-funded electricity installation.
Buthelezi said they had to make several trips to Pietermaritzburg to apply for Eskom installation and they paid a lot of money for this.
“Oh, here is Cele, let us listen to him telling us what are they going to do for us, we are tired of being played by people, making empty promises.
“Look over there, you can see that there is electricity, we used our money (to install it),” Buthelezi told Cele and his delegation.
Despite being frank and livid, Buthelezi gave Cele and his ANC delegation a chance to make their elections promises and said they will only back the ruling party if its promises are tangible.
“For the longest time we have been voting yet we saw nothing tangible, there was a promise of water and when we finally got them, the taps were not working, they only started working recently.
“They made a promise that they will install electricity for us and when that happened, only a few got it and we were left out.
“We had to go to … Mgungundlovu and paid a lot of our money to get it … when we vote we want to see tangible results, not empty promises,” Buthelezi told Cele.
Cele pleaded with Buthelezi to give the ANC another chance and said it was still going to deliver on all the promises made.
“Please extend our time and we will deliver,” Cele pleaded with Buthelezi.
Despite the candid discussion Cele had with Buthelezi, other members of the deeply rural community were happy to see Cele, telling him that they worked in the Zibambele project while he was still the MEC for transport in the province and they enjoyed working with him in maintaining rural roads.