‘FF+ no longer a whites-only party’

Freedom Front Plus leader Franco de Lange. Photo: Supplied

Freedom Front Plus leader Franco de Lange. Photo: Supplied

Published May 4, 2011


Front Plus says it is no longer a whites-only party. And to prove this, it will be contesting two wards in Soweto during the local government elections on May 18.

Standing for wards 51 and 52, which cover Zola, Zondi and Jabulani, is Johannes Lubbe, who lives in Roodepoort – about 20km away.

Party leader Franco de Lange, who is the mayoral candidate for Joburg, did not want Lubbe to talk to the media.

“Like all new candidates in any other party, he still has to get training about the workings of the local government. What can he tell you? He does not know anything at this stage. All media enquiries will therefore be answered by me,” he said.

With their election campaign based on the slogan “No service delivery, no tax”, the FF+ contends that Joburg’s municipal structure is top heavy, which does not bode well for effective service delivery. De Lange thinks Soweto should have its own municipality.

“We need to decentralise the municipality, so as to bring local government closer to the people on the ground. It does not make sense to have everything happening in Braamfontein (where the City of Joburg’s offices are situated).

“We need to bring the municipality closer to the people, so that when they have problems, they can just walk around the corner to get help. Take the government to the people,” said De Lange, adding there were no FF+ election posters in Soweto because of “budgetary constraints”.

But De Lange is confident his party will get some votes in the township. The perception that the FF+ is a strictly white party does not bother him.

“We have quite a number of people from Soweto who came to see me, and they want to work for the party. We could have put a local Soweto candidate on our election posters but our members are still scared. There is still that stigma that ours is a whites-only party, though we now have Africans, Indians, coloureds, Afrikaners, Italians, etc,” he said.

The party has distributed flyers and pamphlets around the township. But what is it that the FF+ can do for the people of Soweto?

“Government must fund the building of factories within Soweto, so people can work closer to their homes. This will go a long way in ensuring the locals work and spend their hard-earned money right within their communities,” De Lange said.

“At the moment, about 70 percent of residents’ money is not spent in Soweto. We insist that the people of Soweto must spend most of their money in the township.”

It is also the contention of the FF+ that every ward should have its own budget.

“In that way, the community can decide what needs to be done and prioritise accordingly. They can decide whether they want a school, library or a clinic first. In this way you empower the people to take control of their lives.”

Asked how relevant their slogan was when Soweto, for instance, has a problem of non-payment, De Lange quoted the recently passed Consumer Protection Act, which he said was explicit when it comes to paying for nonexistent services.

“We don’t advocate a boycott of payment of rates, etc. But where the citizens are paying and there is no service delivery, we urge them not to pay. If you pay, you must get service.” - The Star

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