APEMO calls for screening of foreign nationals

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The leader of the African People’s Movement (APEMO), Vikizitha Mlotshwa, says his party wants foreign nationals to be screened before entering the country to ensure that only those with scarce skills are employed.

He was speaking at an election rally in a rural part of Bergville in the west of the province.

He says investment in small businesses like spaza shops should be left to South Africans.

APEMO is a splinter party from the National Freedom Party and was formed 2 months before the 2021 local government elections.

Residents decry the lack of service delivery

Hundreds of people crammed the community hall in the Emamfemfetheni area of Bergville.

The hall’s broken windows are but one sign of the poverty in the deep rural area in the foothills of the Drakensberg.

Even herds of cattle or goats are scarce in the area.

While homesteads have electricity, people only have pit toilets and water has to be fetched from boreholes or streams.

Thabani Zulu says when it rains, the gravel roads leading to homesteads become difficult to travel on.

“They make us a road, this main road going to Cathedral Peak there in the mountains for the hotel. But here, inside here in the location, you don’t have those roads. Even if you have those small roads, they make us those small roads, but it’s difficult. If it’s raining, you can’t travel. You can’t use those that road if it’s raining. You must travel, you must go to the main road if you want transport.”

Other residents, Nondumiso Sithole and Ntombifuthi Ndaba agree that poor roads, electricity and water are the main challenges people face in the area.

“I’m from the poorest rural part of this area…from the farms and we are in need of water and electricity. And another thing, we have irregular (power) cuts that (are) not connected to load shedding. We also have damaged power infrastructure which Eskom doesn’t repair.”

“Our votes will make a huge difference because we have full confidence in our leader, Mlotshwa. We don’t have proper roads. The last time when we had proper roads was through Mlotshwa when he was mayor before. The issue of water and electricity is a major concern, but we trust Mlotshwa that he will be up for the task.”

Job creation

Addressing people in the community hall, Mlotshwa says his party will create more job opportunities.

He wants the age limit for jobs in government’s Expanded Public Works Programme to be lifted from 35 to 59.

Mlotshwa says, “We need those with skills, (they) must be invited into South Africa. But don’t take those people who are coming here to stay because they tend to sell drugs to our children, and they tend to sell expired food. Our kids buy sweets, cakes and the stuff from them only to find in the end they get ill and die.”

Privatising electricity generation

Due to load shedding, APEMO wants electricity generation in the country to be privatised.

Mlotshwa says, “Because Eskom now is alone. So that is why if Eskom says today it’s dark, it will be dark. So therefore, we are proposing that other people must be given a chance to supply us with electricity so that…people are being disturbed, you know businesses are going down because of this poor supply.”

Party highlights

Mlotshwa says within 60 days of being formed, APEMO was able to secure nine seats in KwaZulu-Natal municipalities and one in Mpumalanga.

He says they are contesting the elections in KwaZulu-Natal and at national level.

The party also has cooperation agreements with Pan-Africanist parties, the African People’s Convention and United Africans Transformation, to bolster each other’s support at the polls.

VIDEO | African People’s Movement launches manifesto in Bergville: