DA provincial leader in Gauteng John Moodey [in blue cap] with Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga speaking to journalists in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, as they engaged with community members over the problems haunting the vast township. Picture: ANA

Pretoria - The Democratic Alliance (DA) leaders in Gauteng were flooded with tales of deep poverty and unemployment on their tour of the Mamelodi township, east of Pretoria, on Monday.

“The objective of the visit is for us, as politicians, to find out what the real facing the people are, in their daily lives. It is for us, together with them, to devise means to address those issues... We have come to meet up the people where they are living, and to find out what the issues are so that we deal with those things,” DA provincial leader in Gauteng John Moodey said.

Moodey said the party's leadership identified the perennial problems which are on the rise in the high-density township.

“We have identified the general issues and one of them is the issue of unemployment which is continuing to rise, and also the issue of the economy that continues to shrink. We are fully aware of the fact that for us to grow our economy in South Africa, the first thing we need is policy that will attract investors and not chase them away,” he said.

After more than two decades since the fall of apartheid, Moodey said the black economic empowerment laws implemented in South Africa have not benefited the general black populace which was previously excluded from the mainstream economy.

“The gap between the haves and the have-nots has just continued to grow. There is need for real inclusion of the informal business sector and opportunity for the informal business sector to participate fully in the formally economy. That is where the cities come in, and they have a role to play,” said Moodey.

Speaking to journalists regarding the protest which hit Pretoria CBD last week, led by the African National Congress’ Youth League, Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said some of the grievances are based on lies. He said the memorandums would be looked at. 

“We are going to run a transparent, more fair system that affords everybody an opportunity. Now, the lie being perpetuated is that we have hired pensioners. We were very clear when we were registering people [for temporary jobs] when we said anybody between the age of 18 and 60,” said Msimanga.

“Believe me, we have now done an assessment...and we found that more than 60 percent are people who are young. Yes, there is a category of people who are below the age of 55 who are still capable of working and we are saying those people, in South African law at least, are still in the working age and we should not discriminate against them."

African News Agency/ANA