Residents from Magenge in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape are unanimous in their decision not to vote. That’s because they have lost patience with the slow pace of service delivery.
Basic necessities like access to water, schools and clinics are some of their challenges.
Fed up, discouraged and without hope, Mahenge residents feel marginalised. Their RDP houses are in a bad state, riddled with cracks.
Locals have no alternative but to stay in them.
One young person says that, as the youth, they also feel neglected.
“Mama tried by all means that I must go to school. I went to school in 2017, but I came back because sometimes my mom doesn’t have money and she has to support me and other children, my brother and sisters. We are very poor at my home and she can’t afford to take me to school, my brother, my sister and my son.”
One resident raised concerns over the safety of children in the area.
“Young children who are four-years-old walk long distances to school. They have to cross a forest. They are not safe. We also do not have a clinic here. When treatment is finished we have to wait for others to have their treatment finished too so that we can go as a group to the clinic, and it is far.”
Infighting within the African National Congress (ANC) in Port St Johns municipality is blamed for the poor services. Workers downed tools for eight months last year.
Residents say that the infighting is affecting them badly.
“In the ANC they are fighting each other. Now that thing is holding projects and development and everything that is supposed to be going to poor people,” says a resident.
“We never had water now for the past two weeks. Before that it was for a month and before that it was for about two months without water,” adds another.
Port St Johns Mayor, Nozuko Mlombile-Cingo, says that the municipality will intervene.
“We usually have trucks that will deliver water to people, but I must admit our fault is not following and making sure that we give them water through trucks. Meanwhile, we are preparing for them to have proper services.”
Residents have vowed to punish authorities by not registering to vote.