Complaints greet Zuma

2011-05-04 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma was greeted with a string of complaints over lack of housing as he took the coming May 18 local government election campaign across parts of KwaZulu-Natal, his home province, yesterday.

Zuma was accompanied by ANC KZN chairperson and Premier Zweli Mkhize, ANC national executive committee members Nomaindia Mfeketho and Sphiwe Nyanda, the former communications minister, and a number of ANC provincial executive committee members.

He kicked off his KZN campaign with a door-to-door campaign in KwaMashu.

The first house Zuma visited was that of the Mkhwanazi family at B58 KwaMashu, who live in the two-roomed section of dilapidated houses that were built for township residents by the apartheid regime more than six decades ago.

Duduzile Mkhwanazi, who is in her late forties, stays in the house with her disabled teenage son. She is unemployed and the only income in the family is the disability grant for her son.

“When it’s winter time this house is cold because it’s full of holes … we get wet because of the leaking roof. We cannot afford repairs, the income hardly covers food expenses for a month,” Mkhwanazi said.

At another house nearby, unemployed Doctor Mthembu complained about the squalid conditions in the one-roomed house he shares with his five children and grandchildren.

Residents complained that local councillors were doing nothing to help them with the housing challenges faced by this, one of the oldest Durban townships.

Before leaving KwaMashu, Zuma’s convoy snaked through the small streets of KwaMashu passing squalid informal shacks and the local men’s hostel, on the way to deliver a keynote address at a rally at Rotary Stadium, which is usually a no-go-area for ANC members as the residents are mainly Inkatha Freedom Party and National Freedom Party supporters.

In his address Zuma said officials in charge of budgets must ensure that the living conditions of township residents living in dilapidated houses be addressed “as there will be no excuse to justify them living under those conditions after 20 years of democracy”.

He took a swipe at ANC breakaway political parties the PAC and Cope, saying they were like “bewitched parties that were facing the wrath of the ancestors”.

He reminded voters that failing to exercise their right to vote will lead to the election of people they did not choose themselves, running their lives as councillors and municipalities.

“Those who say they will not vote because they don’t see a difference even after voting are putting themselves under unnecessary stress.

“If you don’t vote you are depriving yourself of the right to take part in shaping the future of your country.

“That is the same as self-oppression as you will be ruled by the leaders you did not play a role in electing,” Zuma said.

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