Tshwane: ANC, DA fish in enemy waters

2011-05-14 18:32

The ANC and DA have both indulged in heavy election fishing in enemy waters to ensure they capture the City of Tshwane on election day.

The ANC has courted the city’s Afrikaners, Indians, Portuguese and Jews while the DA has wooed the townships.

The votes of new black DA supporters and those of the party’s traditional base, combined with an expected ANC stay­away vote, will give the city to the DA, reckons mayoral hopeful Brandon Topham.

But ANC mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa says his party’s new popularity among minorities, combined with its traditional township voting power, will keep the metro in the ANC stable.

Whoever wears the mayoral chain after the election will be boss of one of South Africa’s biggest metros.

With a current population of 2.2 million – 72% black, 24% white, 2% coloured and 1.5% Indian or Asian – and 1.3 million registered voters, Tshwane’s current 76 wards will increase to 105 with the forthcoming incorporation of the bankrupt towns of Nokengtsa Taemane and Kungwini.

On Wednesday the city’s voters will ­determine the future of an administration beset with corruption problems.

Special Investigating Unit head Willie Hofmeyr’s anti-graft investigators caught 65 Tshwane officials with interests in companies in the act of doing business with the metro and receiving R185 million in payments.

And the Independent Complaints ­Directorate is investigating massive corruption in the ranks of Tshwane metro police officers – more than 150 cases of corruption, kidnapping, extortion, ­assault, bribery and theft.

The metro’s uncollected debt stands at a staggering R2.7 billion – the lowest in the country, according to Ramokgopa.

And Tshwane’s residents complain of endemic electricity, water, roads, stormwater drainage, street light and infrastructure maintenance backlogs. But are they angry enough to kick the ANC out?

DA polls and the party’s reception in ANC strongholds, argues Topham, show ­increasing voter dissatisfaction with the ruling party.

The DA won 147 000 votes in the 2006 elections and increased them to 254 000 in the 2009 elections, says Topham.
Polls indicated that dissatisfied ANC ­voters planned to boycott the election.

“If they stay away, if we maintain our traditional and our new base, we will definitely win Tshwane,” says Topham.

The DA promises voters an employment-creating, crime-free, corruption-free and infrastructure-developing city.

Ramokgopa, on the other hand, says the ANC’s campaign has “picked up ­momentum over the last five weeks”.

The party also gained significant new support in minority communities.

The city’s fight against corruption, he says, is “non-negotiable”. Voters can be sure that the “toxic elements” will be weeded out. “Tshwane will be the best-run municipality in the whole of South Africa,” he says.

Post-election Tshwane under the ANC will be run like a business with two aims: preserving current infrastructure and ­developing new infrastructure in developing areas, he says.

“We can do better and the people ­deserve the best”, says Ramokgopa.

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