Helen Zille’s advice for blocked drains: don’t litter

2014-04-26 11:07

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DA leader Helen Zille asked children in the tiny Western Cape town of Prince Alfred’s Hamlet not to litter, because it would block drains.

Zille conducted a door-to-door election campaign in a DA-run, predominantly coloured ward in the town, which is about 10km from Ceres in the Witzenberg Municipality.

The municipality is run by a coalition government consisting of the DA, Cope, the Voice of Independents Party and an independent candidate.

Residents showed Zille a blocked stormwater drain next to the road. When Zille inspected the drain, she found it was “full of plastic and chips packets”.

She told residents in fluent Afrikaans: “This is why you must not throw chips packets on the ground. When the rains come, it’s all washed into the drain.”

After visiting the last home on her campaign trail, Zille spoke to children drinking juice from small boxes, telling them to “throw those in the drum” so that the rubbish didn’t block the drains.

Zille inspected the homes of four residents in the area, with many of them telling her that they were survived on state pensions. Many claimed grants for their children.

One woman also complained that the father of her two grandchildren refused to pay maintenance for the children and had disappeared.

Another woman said her son, who lives with her, became schizophrenic after a car accident and needed a lot of medicine.

Most of the houses Zille visited were built 17 years ago as part of the government’s housing scheme.

Some residents were under the impression that they would get new homes.

“They’re going to give us a new home,” one of the elderly residents was overheard telling a child when Zille entered their home.

Another woman complained to Zille that the home she had inherited from her deceased father was falling apart and that she needed a new one. Zille explained to her that, because the home belonged to her, the woman herself was responsible for its upkeep.

A potato shed and nearby fruit farms are the main job providers for the people in town, although much of the work is seasonal.

In 2012, the area saw at least one man killed in violent farm wage protests.

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