The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa has campaigned in uThukela District in western KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the municipal elections. Hlabisa began his visit to the area at Colenso – a rural area still battling water and proper sanitation. He then went to Weenen and Loskop where he addressed hundreds of supporters who had braved the cold and rainy weather to attend the mini-rallies.  

The IFP began its campaign visit by handing over a house to a family at Colenso in the Alfred Duma Municipality. Community members in the rural area say they were promised access to water and houses more than 10 years ago.  

Colenso is largely a rural area with little to no sanitation. The Khoza family, whose only income is social grants. has been living in a tin shack for years.   

Hlabisa says the party decided to build them a house after they heard of the family’s plight.

“This shack has undermined their dignity. Unfortunately, the material that was supposed to build a house for them was brought here by the Alfred Duma Municipality. The councillor who lives here in Colenso came to borrow that material and promised to bring it back. And the material was taken for good.”

In Weenen, the community has said it’s time for a change in leadership.

“We have nothing here. We have no water. We sometimes go for days without access to water. There’s no network. We can’t even apply for online jobs,” says one community member. 

“We are struggling. We want to change the situation we are faced with. It’s time for us to change leadership because the one we have isn’t working for us.”

Hlabisa says they hope to win back the Alfred Duma Municipality after the African National Congress (ANC) took over control in 2016.

“People of Uthukela have protested over water, have protested on the problem of sanitation, poor service delivery. The businesses have closed down in Ladysmith because of water shortage.”

The IFP wrapped up campaigning in Loskop, a predominantly ANC area.