Race for Midvaal - mud-slinging goes on
Johannesburg - The ANC in Gauteng on Tuesday accused the DA of trying to keep the hotly-contested Midvaal area white.
"We are very serious about taking over Midvaal, democratically and fairly," ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura told reporters in Johannesburg.
"(The DA) campaign has always been about keeping the Midvaal white. The workers who live on farms and plots in Midvaal have been disenfranchised by the DA in previous elections.
"Many of them have often been sent home by their racist employers at election time so that they don't vote in the area," he claimed.
Midvaal is the only Democratic Alliance-run municipality in Gauteng.
Both parties have made allegations of dirty tricks. The DA accused the ANC of bussing supporters in to register to vote in the area during the last voter-registration drive on March 5 and 6.
The ANC's Brian Hlongwe would lead the party's campaign to win Midvaal. He charged the DA was failing to deliver basic services such as water and sanitation to the area's poor. Around 26 informal settlements formed part of the municipality.
People lived under "slave-like" conditions in the municipality, he charged.
"The plight of the poor people there is of big concern."
He said the DA-run municipality did not provide drinking water in one area and argued this was because the property on which people were living was private.
He said 64% of the Midvaal population was black and the ANC wanted to "create an environment to enable those people to exercise their democratic right to vote".
Asked why Midvaal was named the best-run municipality by the Gauteng provincial government, Hlongwe said the evaluation was based on administration only and not service delivery.
The Midvaal municipality covered a large area, with one ward alone covering a 44km radius.
Makhura alleged the DA was colluding with "lawyers" to "take over property belonging to blacks".
The DA on Tuesday again accused the ANC of bussing people in and having them register under false addresses to create "ghost voters".
"But don't take the DA's word for it. E.tv visited the areas in question, spoke to the residents, and witnessed the vacant lots of land where, according to the voters' roll, people were supposed to be living," DA spokesperson on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, James Lorimer said in a statement.
"The ANC's desperation suggests it knows it has a problem. And it's a big one. The people of Midvaal don't want what the ANC has to deliver, because all it delivers is mismanagement."