Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The situation in the Mkhondo municipality is rapidly deteriorating as violent protest has now spread to Amsterdam, Iswepe and Driefontein, and the time has come for Premier David Mabuza to sort his ANC out now.
The protests are a direct result of instability within the local ANC fuelled by the lust for power and access to government resources, and protest leaders are using residents as pawns in their political power games under the guise of poor service delivery.
In 2009 this municipality was rocked by similar violent service delivery protests, with community leaders demanding the removal of councillors and officials. Following the 2011 local government elections, some those community leaders were elected to public office, and are now at the receiving end of protests led by those former councillors and officials. Since then the status of service delivery in Mkhondo has not improved
Violent protestors are blocking roads and setting fire to municipal buildings and vehicles in the small town of Amsterdam. It has also been reported that the town hall had been razed at around 02h00 this morning. In Piet Retief a heavy police contingent protects the electricity sub-station following threats to set it alight and to sabotage the water supply. According to our latest information, water supply to parts of Piet Retief and Etandukhakanye has been sabotaged, and municipal officials are working non-stop to have it restored.
Premier Mabuza’s continued insistence to send MECs to deal with an ANC problem which clearly demands his attention as provincial ANC chairperson, will only exacerbate the situation – while residents and public representatives from all walks of life are forced to deal with the compromised security situation.
Instead of making arrogant remarks that he as premier has a programme and that people cannot dictate terms to him, premier Mabuza must immediately get to Mkhondo, deal with the crisis, and address the severe internal factionalism within the local ANC and the Mkhondo administration.
The DA has received reports from persons close to the protests, confirming that this has less to do with poor service delivery and more with the internal ANC power struggle.
The deepening crisis in the ANC is increasingly being played out on the streets of Mpumalanga. While peoples’ disillusionment with the ANC gradually grows, the DA’s track record of clean governance and effective service delivery to the poor in municipalities where we govern, are becoming an ever-brighter beacon of hope.
If poor service delivery in Mkhondo is indeed the motive, people hold the power of their votes to remove this government – and replace it with a DA government that consistently delivers.