Communities not sold on ANC’s plea for a second chance
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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plea for voters to give the ANC another chance to fight corruption in dysfunctional municipalities has been rejected by angry communities, who say they are fed-up with the rampant corruption and lack of basic services on his party’s watch.
They said they gave the governing party enough chances to improve their lives for years. But they had to live with poverty and unemployment while service delivery deteriorated.
Many communities have to suffer the indignity of sewage spilling into the streets, unreliable electricity supply, potholes and lack of refuse collection.
During the ANC’s local government election manifesto launch, in Tshwane this week, Ramaphosa said his administration had made strides in the past two years against state capture and corruption in government and within the ANC.
The president said the governing party had committed to launch this at a local government level. “One of the biggest pledges the ANC makes to you is that we are doing things better and differently to make sure the best people run municipalities.”
But this promise was too little to late for Small Farms (Emfuleni Local Municipality) resident, Pakiso Pheku, who said, sewage spillage and unreliable electricity supply were the main problems in her area.
The 32-year-old said they have been living without electricity for more than two years, while sewage flooded the streets. “The roads are riddled with potholes. We tried to engage the municipality about these problems, but nothing happened. We don’t have a municipality in this area. There’s been a lack of refuse collection for about two years.”
Pheku added that the ANC had failed to improve their lives, since it was elected into power in 1994.
“Why should I give them another five years because we gave them a fair chance and they have failed. I think it is high time we change our votes and try other political parties,” she said.
Another resident, Kgomo Mofokeng, said the ANC will have to work hard to convince them. “We know they might come with food parcels during their campaigns. We are not going to allow that. Our children are into drugs because there are no jobs.”
Teboho Makgajane, 39, said he has lost trust in the ANC as it has always gives empty promises. “Now it’s election time. I know they will come and ask us to vote for them. They will promise this and that. Right now we have a service delivery problem - the area is dark because the lights are off and we have parents who have to go to work using the same roads that are dark. They get robbed and raped.”
Teboho Kuduka said: “Unemployment is rife in the area and there’s nothing here. We don’t have sports facilities and there are dumping sites all over the area. This is because the ANC is useless to its people. They are no longer serving us.”
In Diepkloof, Soweto, Ida Langa said service delivery was poor in the area. “I am an ANC supporter and I love them, but I think they deserve to be voted out of power. They are no longer working for the people. If you come to the local government, there’s no engagement between the community and the municipality. They are refusing to listen to the people. Right now people are given 14 days before they switch off electricity, because they said we bridged connections and we need to pay.”
Another resident blamed Ramaphosa for corruption and failure to deliver basic services in the community.
“I will not vote for the ANC because he (Ramaphosa) is not decisive. He is claiming to fight corruption, but he is failing. All these municipalities are failing to deliver for the people, because he is failing to fight corruption. He is biased, he only fights members of the other faction in the party,” she said.
Governance expert and political analyst Sandile Swana said the auditor-general has been telling the ANC exactly what it is doing wrong and how to correct it in the Municipal Finance Management Act reports for the past nine to eleven years.
“Those reports together with those of the Public Protector, SIU, National Treasury and so on, needed to be part of the step aside resolution and a clear mandate of the Disciplinary and Deployment Committees to actively remove wrongdoers across the board. Not just those who are charged by the NPA,” said Swana.
“The ANC and Ramaphosa promised us that there would be performance contracts with deployees and ministers. I assume mayors and MMCs and ward councillors all need proper performance contracts and performance management to ensure that delivery happens and failures are removed. The ANC needs proper ethicists and criminologists to educate it on how to go do a full-scale moral regeneration.
“Renewal and regeneration have been done in Germany, Japan, Rwanda, Singapore and elsewhere - there are good examples to follow. The ANC must follow such examples,” said Swana, adding that the party has seen large-scale Covid-19 PPE tender corruption, the July civil unrest and very few isolated clean audits in municipalities.
“That tells us that since January 2018, Ramaphosa and the ANC have failed to turn the tide. Remember many cadres, including John Block, were sent to jail for corruption under (former president) Jacob Zuma. So, a few prosecutions have been happening all the time anyway. What has not received attention is systemic corruption and the general culture of corruption.”