If a prisoner is sentenced to life, then after 25 years they would be eligible for parole. South Africans should view their democracy in a similar manner, that after 25 years under ANC rule the upcoming elections should be a means of attaining parole from the failings of the ANC-led government.
These were the sentiments expressed by DA Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga today as he addressed community members who took part in a DA-led march to the Emfuleni Municipality in protest of the poor service delivery and lack of accountability and transparency within the municipality.
Msimanga asked why President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC would “run to Alexandra instead of coming to Emfuleni which has time and again been adjudged to be the worst performing municipality in Gauteng”.
“The same energy that he used to go to Alexandra to ask about what was happening there, he must use it to come here and ask what happened to the Evaton Renewal Programme.
“There was a billion rand that was supposed to be used, but there is nothing to show for it and this ANC-led municipal can not account for it. It’s the same thing in Alexandra [Premier David] Makhura cannot account for the over a billion rand that was supposed to be spent in Alexandra housing project,” he said.
The premier candidate added that it was time for South Africans to take actions against the ANC’s lack of accountability and transparency.
He compared the Alexandra protests - which he said “had been hijacked by the ANC” - to the march organised by the DA: “We are here today, and there is no fire that’s burning here, there is no shop that has been looted here, there is no disruption of school hours here, that tells you that where the DA is, there is peace and thought of mind.
“If it was the ANC they would have gone and told kids not to attend school and partake in the protests. But we have an ANC who tells people to go and burn [the places] where the DA is governing.”
Before handing over their memorandum of demands to acting speaker of the house, Councillor Ananias Motsei, who accepted the memorandum on behalf of the mayor, DA leader in Gauteng John Moody said they had come to the municipality on behalf of the community of Emfuleni.
“You are public servants and public representatives. You are supposed to serve our people. To give them a better future. And frankly, provide them services that provides them the dignity they deserve. It shames me as having been a public representative before, to see the realities facing these community members,” he said.
DA premier candidate Solly Msimanga (centre) reads the memorandum of demands outside the Emfuleni Municipal Offices on Friday afternoon. Picture: Palesa Dlamini
Motsei apologised on behalf of the mayor, saying he could not be present because he was attending a mayor’s forum in Johannesburg.
He accepted the memorandum and assured the DA members and the large number of community members who had gathered at the entrance of the municipal gate that their issues would be looked into.
Midvaal Mayor Bongani Baloyi said that: “Today is about us, as the DA, marching to the Emfuleni municipal office to raise issues we have found while campaigning in doing our door-to-door with the residents of Emfuleni, primarily in relation to the Evaton Renewal Project where large sums of money, about R870 million, was committed but nothing has been done to date,” he said.
“On top of that we are raising issues of the regional sanitation sewer as we had seen in the media that there was sewerage spillage all over and as we were marching today we witnessed that.
He added: “Other issues include the corruption that has not been dealt with in the municipality, which is committed by ANC themselves. This is to say that the time of them continuing to act in a manner where there is no accountability, no transparency is over.
“We are going to insist that there be accountability and transparency and those who have been found to have done some thing wrong must be dealt with and taken to book.”
Baloyi told City Press these were the issues that had been raised with his party by the public.
“As we continue to engage with people on the ground, these issues were concerning and we have brought them here so that the mayor is aware of what is going on,” he said.
Mpule Jone, who lives in the embattled township which falls under Emfuleni Municipality, told City Press of her experiences in the area.
“As I speak to you now there are a lot of sewage spills and there are no toilets, we have pit toilets and there are numerous potholes. There is sewage flooding the streets. There are just too many problems,” she said.
“Evaton is a place that has been in existence for a long time and has been getting money allocated to it but this money is being misused. This has been the case since I was 15 years old. Now I am 49 and money for development is still being misused.”
Another resident, Lebohang Hlalele (30), said young people were even turning to drug abuse as there are no opportunities for them in the area.
She told City Press: “Take me for example, I have no parents, I live in a back room at my uncle’s home and when I tried to look for employment I was told to go back home first [support the ruling party] then I would get a job.”
Balyoi went on to say that, over and above the complaints they were raising with the municipality, they were also community members and are constantly engaging with residents.
“It’s easy to say it’s electioneering but these are genuine issues that people are raising. What is concerning is that those who have collapsed these municipalities are still there occupying various positions in this municipality,” he said.
The DA’s planned march to Emfuleni came a day after Ramaphosa, some of his cabinet ministers and the ANC provincial leadership, went to Alexandra to engage the community members on their grievances that have seen them embark on an ongoing shut-down protest.
Ramaphosa promised to build a million houses within the next five years to reduce the serious housing backlog in the community.
Msimanga disputed the accuracy of this promise.
“I have a message for Ramaphosa and Makhura, stop lying to our people. How can you build 548 houses a day? The Gauteng government has previously said that it only has capacity to build 30 000 houses a year,” he said.
Balyoi justified Mashaba’s absence from Alexandra and said: “I think Herman has been clear in terms of what has been happening there and characterising the problem and how the problem has manifested in the public view.
“There is an ANC-led movement that has been hijacking those issues. Herman has always engaged with the people of Johannesburg and still intends to do so.”
“What the ANC and the president is doing is a very dangerous precedent,” he said.