Azapo: Restore respect for city

2011-04-27 00:00

AZAPO may emerge as the dark horse in the local government elections on May 18 and could end up having a couple of councillors in the Msunduzi Municipality.

Jabulani Jeffrey Makhathini, a local stalwart of the Black Consciousness Movement who has been an activist in the city since the early 1980s, believes this could be an unintended consequence of the infighting in the ANC.

This is the first time Azapo is contesting the local government elections in Msunduzi, and Makhathini said the decision was not taken lightly. They have been working on this for a number of years. “We realised that contesting an election is an expensive activity and that we needed to organise ourselves.

“We have since set up branches and community development organisations,” he said.

According to the Azapo leader they have also been encouraged by members of the community asking why they were not contesting the municipal elections. “People have been growing increasingly disillusioned with ANC cadres who get into positions of power and who forget their roots and become arrogant.

“These people can’t see themselves voting for the DA or the IFP, but they can see themselves voting for a party that — like the ANC — has an activist past,” said Makhathini. He added that in the 2009 national elections Azapo did much better than in previous years and garnered a lot of votes.

Makhathini is a well-known activist who has been involved in community education and outreach projects. He was a founder member of the successful local Community Arts Project.

He said his party will focus on townships to get communities involved in self-help projects and to gain the confidence to hold their councillors, ward committees and municipality to account.

The health of the entire city will be a major focus.

“We have large bus ranks in the city where the toilets are not working and people have to cross over raw sewage to get to their transport.

“Right nearby there are vendors selling food. A municipality that ignores health hazards such as these is showing no respect to the community. We want to restore that respect,” Makhathini said.

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