President Cyril Ramaphosa side-steps Soweto visit

Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa was saved from what was potentially going to be a hostile and embarrassing reception on his campaign trail in Soweto.

On Thursday, the ANC abruptly cancelled plans for Ramaphosa to return to Nomzamo informal settlement in Soweto, where residents were waiting to once again confront him over electricity supply problems.

During the weekend of voter registration on September 18, Ramaphosa received a hostile reception when he was campaigning in Nomzamo as residents demanded that their electricity be restored.

Ramaphosa promised that he would return with solutions to their electricity problems by Thursday.

The party issued media alerts communicating that the president was returning to the informal settlement.  But Ramaphosa was a no-show.

Sunday World understands that there were concerns in the ANC that residents of Nomzamo were going to tackle Ramaphosa in front of the media.

“Just before the president was supposed to go to Nomzamo, we were informed that the generator there is not working and the contractor doesn’t want to replace it because it has been stolen many times,” an ANC leader based at Luthuli House said.

Sunday World visited the community on Thursday and was welcomed by angry residents who were patiently waiting for Ramaphosa. “Uphi u Ramaphosa [where is Ramaphosa?]” asked the residents.

University student Andisiwe Qhina, 23, said they felt like they were living a different life compared to neighbouring areas such as Orlando.

“We depend on people from Orlando for electricity. It is hard now that they also haven’t had electricity for almost three months,” said Qhina, as he told of how he had to go to Orlando to charge his laptop so that he could attend his online classes.

Two residents who asked to remain anonymous said the ANC had lost their votes owing to its failure to restore power.

There are growing concerns in the ANC elections team that Ramaphosa is being subjected to attacks when deployed in some places.

On Friday, while on the campaign trail in Ga-Rankuwa in Tshwane, Ramaphosa had to contend with an unruly crowd over the party’s candidate.

Last week, Ramaphosa’s security detail, SAPS, metro police, and ANC marshals had to form a security ring around a stage at Folweni township, Durban, as some members of the crowd heckled the visiting president.

To read more news and views from this week’s newspaper, click here. 

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