As the ANC will celebrate 112 years of the party’s existence in Mbombela this weekend, the party factions and internal feuds will see it limp into the general elections in months to come.
Analysts say the party’s 112 anniversary may be the last celebration with the party as the governing party.
For the City of Mbombela and townships of Lekazi and Pienaar, rubbish lines the streets, Pakistani nationals run the city centre and burst pipes replace the running water on taps.
Former mayor of Mbombela and South Africa’s Ambassador to China, Lassy Chiwayo, sat down with Independent Media. “I have long thought it was time for our leaders to sit down and talk about the ANC, but the in-fighting has brought us to this point. Have we passed the time of an eyeball to eyeball conversation among ourselves? Have we gone down too far?
“We expected that things under this ANC would improve and not regress. We were wrong. I’m told that the municipality; this one that I was mayor of, is R2 billion in debt. It is painful. I thought by now this would be a world-class municipality,” Chiwayo said.
“As people go to the stadium, I hope we remember the family of Jimmy Mohlala, who was killed for the stadium, because of the corruption that ensued at the construction of the stadium. I hope that my party will remember his family this weekend.”
Lekazi resident Xolani Makhubi said ANC leaders lived and behaved like celebrities who did not care about residents. “We struggle to get these people, one must literally beg to get services. Refuse is not collected only now that media people and their president is here that they want to seem busy,” Makhubi said.
A 28-year-old Bonanzi Nyangikazi also from Mbombela, said she has been unemployed for the past seven years, even though having a Tshwane University of Technology diploma. The mother of two sells mangoes on the Samora Machel Road towards the city centre. “I pay no mind to these activities, I only see big cars passing here. I won’t be going to the Stadium on Saturday as I would be selling my mangoes on the day,” she said.
Earlier on Thursday, while interacting with young people in Mbombela, President Cyril Ramaphosa alluded that government together with private sector would formulate a comprehensive plan which would serve as an interventions in addressing the challenges of unemployment of young people.
“I am committing myself that I would come up with interventions to help unemployed graduates. We have educated our young people and where they become graduates, we should come up with interventions and a programme that would say no graduate must go unemployed,” he added.
Ramaphosa’s charm offensive in a Mbombela will, however, not change the fact that South Africa’s unemployment rate is the highest in the world.
South Africa’s high level of unemployment is a referred to as a “ticking time bomb”.
Statistics SA data revealed the country’s unemployment rate to be 32.9% in the first three months of 2023 – a 0.2% increase from the quarter before, with at least 3.7 million young people not in employment, education, or training.
As young people stood on the streets observing governments passing blue lights convoy, some ANC volunteers handed out yellow “vote ANC” T-shirts with Ramaphosa face.