ANC Smothering the Democratic Process

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The following member’s statement was delivered by Anthony Benadie to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature this morning.

I rise to condemn the increasing ANC intolerance, inefficiency as a government, and undemocratic behaviour and abuse of power.

On 7 December 2011 the DA won a by-election in ward 10 Graskop. A result the ANC in that municipality refuses to accept, with the Speaker of the council, in an absurdity of reason, refusing to recognised the legal and legitimate ward committee that has been established – and since the election has attempted to not only undermine the elected ward councillor, but also to impose an ANC ward committee on him.

Yesterday, James Masango and I paid a visit to Graskop. Service delivery in this town is shockingly poor, and this tourist attraction is suffering as a result of ANC inefficiency. The town is neglected, dirty and hardly a proud symbol for Mpumalanga tourism. Yesterday, the DA launched a community cleaning campaign, cutting grass, cleaning sidewalks, filling potholes and placing dustbins on strategic places in town, in an attempt to bring a basic service to this community.

Upon hearing this, the Municipal Manager, Mr Burton Khoma, instructed Thaba Chweu traffic officials to immediately remove all the dustbins. They arrived armed with weapons and bolt cutters and proceeded to remove all the dustbins – severely angering the community. It goes beyond all logic, how a municipality like Thaba Chweu, unable to deliver its services can oppose such a needed project.

So too, the DA booked and paid for the community hall to host a community meeting which I was to address. The ANC chief whip tried the entire day to prevent the DA from holding a meeting. Last night, a small group of ANC members and councillors attempted to my meeting, hurling insults and even went as far as turning off the electricity supply of the municipal offices, not considering the municipal computer system running inside.

However, they could not stop us, and we held our meeting successfully outside. The ANC repeatedly provoked community members and tensions ran high. I wish to thank the SAPS who intervened to prevent a potentially violent situation.

Hon Speaker, the ANC is scared and is losing support daily. As such they are increasingly trying to close our democratic space, limit our movement and prevent us from serving communities. The point must be made, the ANC lost that election and they must accept the result. The ANC will never stop us, we will continue going to any ward, wherever we like conducting our political work and delivering services to communities in an open and fearless democratic manner.

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