The African National Congress (ANC) remains the leading party in both Dr JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani municipalities in KwaNdebele, Mpumalanga.
Residents however say corruption and maladministration continue to derail service delivery in their areas. The former KwaNdebele homeland was integrated into South Africa post the 1994 elections, with KwaMhlanga as the capital city.
It is an opportunity for many to soldier on at the place of the rising of the sun. “I was disappointed that young people like me didn’t make use of the opportunity to vote,” says one resident.
With elections now over, it’s business as usual in KwaNdebele’s Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka municipalities.
“I voted for a change – proper roads, jobs. Our children are sitting at home without jobs,” adds another resident.
Both municipalities have a population of more than 500 000 people. And a sizable number of these people work in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Emalahleni. Communities here decry lack of services, water being the main problem.
Hopes for newly formed parties and independent candidates who contested the elections have been dashed. Most people who went to the polls decided to maintain the status quo.
“In this area, we don’t suffer the issues of water. People close the valves to go to the pumps. All these people have got pumps which were installed by the former KwaNdebele government. So we just need to open the valves so that those pumps get water and people access the water inside their yards. But now the very same ruling organisation, the people that are voting today to win again the elections is selling this water to them by means of water tanks,” laments Amos Masemola.
Independent candidate George Mashiane says, “I’m not so disappointed but I’m just disappointed at the way people have turned out especially the youth. People chose to go with the old so I think they mustn’t complain because they’ve been complaining for the past 27 years but yet when they were given the opportunity to go and cast their vote, they decided otherwise.”
Moloto rail project
The Moloto rail project remains another pie in the sky. It was meant to ease traffic congestion on the road which has seen hundreds of lives perish due to accidents. With trust in big political parties dwindling, up-and-coming ones still have a lot to do to convince voters otherwise. Nonetheless, some are already making their mark.
“We contested and fortunately as a new party that had only one and half a month to campaign. We’re at least within the region of top four in the municipality. So that is a victory to us for a small party like us to do this performance,” adds Masemola.
It is a positive stride for a year-old party. But for the communities, it’s undoubtedly a long road ahead.