By James Masango, Provincial Leader:
Last month, the DA launched Vision 2029 – a campaign to outline our DA blueprint for the future society we intend to build in South Africa, based on our three core values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for all South Africans.
Vision 2029 describes a South African society after ten years of a national government led by the Democratic Alliance.
Over the past few weeks I have criss-crossed the province of Mpumalanga and visited some of our most rural municipalities, and urban centres. I have spoken with chiefs, indunas and community members at large.
One of the concerns expressed in almost every community is over the increasing challenges of development, especially for the youth and unemployed community members.
In Moloto, Thembisile Hani municipality, I saw many young people who out of boredom and desperation for work, had given themselves over to drugs. All this while access to electricity, water and sanitation remains a huge challenge for many communities in Mpumalanga.
In Dr. JS Moroka municipality (from where I hail), water and sewage infrastructure was installed in Siyabuswa Township in the late 1970s. Today, more than 30 years later, the same infrastructure services the people of Siyabuswa with some upgrades having been done by the municipality which is not sustainable. What is most concerning, is that the majority of the outlying areas are still underdeveloped and some communities have no access to water and sanitation, a right enshrined in our Constitution. In places where the municipality has provided taps, most of them remain dry.
There’s no doubt that Mpumalanga’s economy has grown over the past 20 years and municipalities receive and annual Municipal Infrastructure Grants (MIG) to aide development. Yet, in our most rural municipalities, there are no signs of development, no signs of the MIG funds being used to better the lives of community members, and no signs of the better life that was promised by the ruling party.
There is definitely not a good story to tell in these areas, as the ANC so often claims.
Cadre deployment is just one of many factors that cripple municipalities and prohibit development. To gain political favour, card carrying ANC members are deployed to positions that they have no expertise or capacity to hold. As a result service delivery then comes to a standstill because not only do these officials not have the capacity to deliver; it is simply not their priority. Despite all the promises and government programmes like the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), the lives of those living in rural communities do not progress.
We, the people of Mpumalanga deserve better. We need a committed and clean government to uplift the conditions of our people. We need to build an inclusive economy where opportunities to prosper are open to everyone.
You the people of Mpumalanga need to understand that under a DA government, it will no longer be the norm for the people of Bushbuckridge municipality to travel long distances on foot to fetch water from the streams. In Victor Khanye municipality and other municipalities, the demoralising bucket toilet system will be abolished and the DA will root out corruption gripping Mbombela Municipality, the seat of our provincial government.
The continued growth of the Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga shows that our people are opening up to a world of new possibilities. It also shows that even in the most rural communities, people are ready for change and can already envisage life under a DA government.
Through our mining, agriculture and tourism industries, Mpumalanga under a DA led government would be able to become a strong economic backbone for South Africa. Through the DA’s commitment to our vision for a non-racial, inclusive and prosperous society, we can achieve this.