The embattled Madibeng Municipality is believed to be up for the taking in the local government polls on November 1.
This was the sentiment shared by Save Madibeng, a service delivery activist movement which would make a debut in the upcoming election.
The movement was started in 2019 in a bid to put pressure on the municipality to prioritise service delivery.
Speaking on behalf of Save Madibeng, Gilbert Boikhutso said a decision to register for the election was made because “we realise that in order to make an impact we needed to put our foot inside the municipality”.
“Political parties have failed us. As the underdogs our aim is not to win the wards but to have a say at the municipality by securing some seats in council to help us to save Madibeng,” he said.
Yesterday, the party embarked on a last-minute campaign in Mmakau village with its activists high in spirit that many would be in for a surprise with the election results.
They cited a history of poor service delivery at the municipality, which is under provincial administration, as an advantage for their party to emerge victorious after the polls.
Chief among the service delivery problems troubling residents were scarcity of water, impassable gravel roads, unreliable power supply, unemployment and the lack of proper houses.
In August, the City of Tshwane threatened to restrict water supply to Madibeng after the municipality failed to settle its bill of more than R232 million.
Matshwenyego Maputla, a resident in Mmakau, told the Pretoria News that since 1994 the village and the municipality had failed to do something about the gravel roads, which he said were impassable during rainy seasons.
“The roads here are very bad and their conditions worsen during the rains. We have no reliable water supply. Many people still don’t have RDP houses. I am actually undecided whether I should vote or not,” she said.
Other residents complained that political parties only came to them whenever they wanted their votes to get into power.
Boikhutso said voter apathy was a worrying factor for parties in Madibeng.
“In most of the households even pensioners would not let us come in because they have been disappointed so many times by the ANC. However, when we explain to them our manifesto they calm down and tend to listen to us,” he said.
He bemoaned the fact that many factories based in Brits were relocating owing to unhappiness emanating from poor services such as water and electricity provided by the municipality.
“We feel like our rights have been violated because we are deprived of basic necessities such as access to clean and drinkable water. Part of our manifesto talks about the introduction of a water board to address our water issues.”
Save Madibeng, he said, would also persuade the nearby mining companies to fund community projects as part of their social responsibilities.
Party activists yesterday engaged in a door-to-door campaign and handed out fliers to passers-by and motorists on the roadside.
Boikhutso expressed confidence that the campaign, which was started two months ago, was on the right track.
“The response that we are getting gives us hope that we are going to win. Even if we lose we will continue to exist so that we can help the people and prepare for the 2024 provincial and national elections,” he said.