‘It’s not the ANC – it’s the councillors’

2011-04-16 17:02

“Singosilahliwe apha (we have been thrown away and ignored here),” says Novusumzi Masumpa as she describes the neighbourhood in which her family lives.

Barely an hour away from Johannesburg, ­Ratanda Extension 2 has no electricity, no toilets and only one communal tap for ­water.

Masumpa and her neighbours have now lowered their expectations.

“We don’t mind not having RDP houses; we just want electricity and water,” she says.

“We won’t vote because we are ignored,” she adds.

She does not blame the ANC, she ­explains, but the 16 ANC councillors on the ­21-member council.

“It’s not the ANC, but its representatives,” Masumpa says.

Residents of Extension 2 have water but only because they collected money after copper thieves vandalised and stole their communal tap.

“We collected R5 each to fix the pipes because no one from the municipality came to fix it,” explains Masumpa’s sister-in-law, 33-year-old Zameka.

Novusumzi (42) and Zameka live with their husbands and some of their 11 children.

Zameka has four kids while Novusumzi has seven.

The collection was done after Ward 9 councillor Thabiso Moremi, who is also the member of the mayoral committee ­responsible for finance and administration, did not respond to their requests to fix the tap.

Zameka says they collected R2 from ­residents to buy air time to ask Moremi to speed up the provision of water.
“He makes promises but never delivers.

He doesn’t give a damn about this area,” says Dorothy Kalanku.

When they illegally connect electricity at the nearby hostel, residents complain that local police remove their connections.

They also accuse Lesedi municipality councillors of expecting their support only for them to “live the good life” and “drive fancy cars”.

Other complaints are the overgrown grass in their neighbourhood and lack of refuse removal.

Mother of three Thulisile Msimanga (30) says she is not going to vote.

“I’ll only vote for (President Jacob) Zuma and not for councillors,” Msimanga says.

Municipal manager Pieter van den ­Heever blames the situation at Extension 2 on the influx of people into the area, ­saying: “A company has been appointed to help with the influx and the council is in the process of obtaining the necessary land to formalise all the informal settlements and get rid of all buckets.

The influx of people remains our biggest challenge.”

He says conditions would improve only if the municipality succeeded with influx ­control.

In response to the charges against him, Moremi says this is electioneering and a ­”political ploy” due to the upcoming local ­government elections.

“It’s incorrect to say those things,” ­according to him.

Moremi said the area used to have water and sanitation but these services were ­halted because residents were relocated.

“The land has been re-occupied,” he says.

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