Fight for something new, Mantashe tells protesting residents

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told the residents of Klerksdorp that they must vote for the ANC despite the challenges that the ruling party has experienced.

Mantashe was campaigning in the North West on Thursday ahead of the May 29 general elections.

Despite his optimism that the ANC would win the elections, he was met with barricaded roads in Tigane, about 30 minutes outside Klerksdorp, where the residents were demanding paraffin.

The majority of people who live in informal settlements in Klerksdorp, including Tigane, rely on paraffin from the nearby City of Matlosana as their main energy source.

Mantashe asked the residents to save their energy because their problems have already been met.

“When they heard that we were coming, they closed the road, saying they wanted paraffin, said Mantashe.

“I told them that they must not fight for something that they have already received; they must not fight for that; they are wasting their energy; they must fight for something new.

His assurance nearly fell into deaf ears when George Motsumi, a resident of Extension 15 in Jourbeton, told Mantashe that the ANC has failed young people.

High unemployment rate

“I heard him promising us jobs. I wonder if that is a cheap talk about whether, indeed, this time around, the ANC will give us jobs,” said Motsumi.

He has been unemployed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and is struggling to provide for his family.

“A lot of young people here abuse drugs because they have lost hope. We’ve been knocking on many doors but have been unsuccessful.

“It makes no difference whether you have qualifications or not; you just do not get a job here in Klerksdorp,” he said.

The mayor of Matlosana, James Tsolela, said the municipality has a 70% unemployment rate, which worries him even more.

“One might wonder why there is such a high number of unemployed people around here, yet we have factories, mines, and other companies,” he said.

Another resident, Pheko Mphuthwane, said the people of the North West were like a forgotten city.

Right people in key positions

Said Mphuthwane: “They [the government] must have master plans that describe what services need to be rolled out.

“We are struggling with high electricity tariffs; we get water only when we are lucky, and it is a standard practice here that we are struggling with water.”

He said the ANC-led government performed poorly, but that he is confident that the seventh administration will bring significant change.

“If we have the right people in key positions, things could change. We do not have electrical or water connections. There is a lack of planning.

“A lack of stability is a critical issue that has impacted service delivery. We need a well-run and stable administration; it does not matter which political party takes over, as long as they deliver.”

Mantashe generalised, saying that there have been reports of ANC members being arrested or tied to corruption activities.

Finance boss is in court for corruption

In Matlosana, chief financial officer Mercy Phetla is in court facing corruption charges after she reportedly received a bribe in the form of a bakkie worth R1.4-million in exchange for a service delivery tender, which is alleged to be related to the supply of paraffin.

“They have been arrested one by one. People have been arrested; others are going to jail; and money is being frozen,” said Mantashe.

Matlosana is one of the municipalities in the North West that received a letter from the National Treasury last year to explain its failure to use millions of rands in subsidies intended to aid the municipality in providing services to communities.

In February, acting premier Nono Maloyi announced that, in an effort to end loadshedding, a memorandum of understanding had been signed with the Chinese National Import and Export Corporation to construct a R16-billion gas-to-electric power station in the City of Matlosana.

He said at the time that the first phase of the project would see the City of Matlosana local municipality produce 198 megawatts of electricity.

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