Strydenburg – ANC undermines opposition council

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader

The ANC has not only hijacked a government event in Strydenburg but is also blatantly undermining the opposition governed Thembelihle municipality. This has come to light amidst the planning of an intended visit to the area tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 August) by Premier Sylvia Lucas and members of her executive council.

According to Thembelihle mayor, Danny Jonas, his office has been sidelined during the entire planning process of this visit. In fact, the only way he was able to obtain information on this visit was to have a municipal official drive all the way from Strydenburg to the Premier’s Office in Kimberley, and plead with departmental officials to have the mayor’s e-mail address added to the mailing list, so that he too could receive correspondence regarding the visit.

On top of this, the same ANC cadre that contested the December 2011 by-election in Strydenburg and lost to Danny Jonas, namely Booi Jafta, is now being used as the Office of the Premier’s ‘go-to-guy’ regarding the logistics of the Exco visit. In fact, Jafta has even been granted a slot on the programme of tomorrow’s visit, whereby he is wrongly but purposefully referred to as a Strydenburg councillor. This, while the rightful mayor, Danny Jonas, features nowhere on the programme.

To make matters worse, input given by the municipality to the Office of the Premier with regards to needy families in the area, has been disregarded.  Instead, the Office of the Premier has opted to compile its own list, on which the names of a politically connected clique in Thembelihle now feature. These names are expected to be the sole beneficiaries of tomorrow’s expected “government” visits and handouts.

The Democratic Alliance is appalled by the Office of the Premier’s behavior. It is a disgrace for the Office of the Premier, which is entrusted with championing our democratic values, to act in this manner. It is intolerable that a mayor, who was elected via democratic processes, is snubbed at the expense of a political cadre, who failed to even make it onto the council. This is a clear indication that the Premier and her Exco do not accept the democratic processes of this country. This is also a clear indication that the ruling party is prepared to stoop to new lows in terms of abusing government resources to further its own political cause.

The DA has no doubt that the actions of the Office of the Premier form part of the ruling party’s “Project Reclaim” whereby the ANC is purposefully undermining local governments under opposition control, in an attempt to win favour in those constituencies.  “Project Reclaim” is not a new phenomenon and is characterized by the ANC offering financial rewards for votes, instigating service delivery protests; making use of provincial government platforms for electioneering purposes and bypassing local government structures that are headed up by the opposition.

With approximately nine months to go until next year’s election, the DA is dismayed but not surprised that the dirty side of politics is already starting to rear its ugly head in the Northern Cape. The DA is calling on the electorate to guard against being manipulated by unscrupulous politicians who are intent on unseating the democratic principles on which this country is founded in order to satisfy their hunger for power.