Correcting some myths

2011-01-06 00:00

ON behalf of the African National Congress branch of uMshwathi ward three (eFaye, eMtulwa, Mount Elias, Ekhamanzi and Inandi, not eNjengabantu), I write to clarify some of the myths raised by Siphamandla Zondi in his article titled "Pinning hopes" (The Witness, January 4).

In the article, he argues "... that 2011 will be the biggest test for our local government"; that the community whom we are leading has been forgotten, that the World Cup and the election of President Jacob Zuma are the only items that "... people fondly remember" and that "the only major development reported in the past five years is free-standing toilets". To validate his myth, he alleges that he spoke to community leaders who have neither seen a copy of the municipality's integrated development plan (IDP) for the past five years nor have they "... demanded it during rare ward meetings".

The final accusation he makes is that a ward councillor deployed by the ANC is a "career crosstitute" and that our community is entertaining the thought of voting for the Democratic Alliance as the last beacon of their hope.

Our councillor's political background has nothing to do with us and there is no DA structure in ward three. However, we agree that being a "career crosstitute" puts one's integrity and political motives into question, but it does not change the fact that we do hold meetings to discuss the IDP and do have updated copies.

With all due respect, most of the points raised by Zondi remain fairy tales presented as noisy factual arguments that are very far from the truth. Perhaps we must excuse him since he has never interviewed community leaders or a ward councillor nor has he participated in any community development or meeting (even though he is from the same area), although he appears to be very passionate about it.

It is therefore constantly surprising to read his articles about his area without any practical suggestions in terms of helping the ward councillor, ruling party and the community to improve service delivery. We challenge him to use his intellectual skills to conduct workshops on community participation or helping us to understand governmental systems and functions.

This challenge is valid since the concept of ubuntu suggests that "it takes a village to raise a child, hence a child has a responsibility to use his or her skills to uplift the village". After all, community development is everybody's responsibility and more should be done by people in his position to motivate our demotivated youth instead of merely offering armchair criticism.

To demystify his armchair criticism, let us just list five major projects (and there are many minor ones as well) that occured in these areas in the past five years although some of them are from the ANC-led national and provincial government.

Nearly five crèches were built and renovated; community halls in eMtulwa and eFaye were built and others were renovated; a community clinic was recently completed in eFaye; an electrification project in Ekhamanzi is currently under way; some parts of the D40 road have been tarred, and access roads and a new primary school in eMtulwa have been built.

We admit that we might have challenges in terms of accountability, mobilisation and integrity. Hence members of the ANC have excluded the serving councillor from the four names put forward to be our ANC candidate. We did so because we want to rebuild the confidence that people have in the ANC. We have consulted the community about these names even though the first meeting was chaotic.

Finally, the 2009 election results and the response that we get from our monthly door-to-door campaigns prove that the community loves the ANC because of its vision, hope and future and because it lives and leads.

•Thembinkosi Zondi is the uMshwathi ward three ANC and ANC Youth League branch secretary who is writing on behalf of the ANC branch.

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