No razzmatazz as Mantashe fails to show at pre-election walkabout

2016-02-12 21:13
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – If ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had arrived as advertised for a visit to the suburb of Mbekweni in the Boland he would not have found many people home for a chat and a cup of tea.

The area is in harvest season. Trucks and tractors trundled along hauling soft green and deep purple grapes down roads lined with well-known wine estates.

After a long session in Parliament for President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address on Thursday night, it may have been a little ambitious to have planned walkabouts for the next morning.

But with local government elections this year, the campaign trail is firmly under way, with the ANC determined to erode the DA's hold on the Western Cape.

Mbekweni falls in the Drakenstein municipality where an estimated 23% of residents are unemployed. The monthly wages for unskilled employees is estimated at between R1 400 to R4 200.

The municipality serves a population of slightly more than 200 000 with an annual increase of 4 200.

Recently the Western Cape government's agriculture department said that seasonal workers in the wheat and fruit belts of the province are increasingly opting to carry on living near the farms where they work.

This is putting pressure on local municipalities which have to step in to provide water and sanitation.

There have been protests in the area because there are not enough houses for everyone.

A new housing project lines a part of Jan van Riebeeck Drive, but the shiny corrugated-iron add-on rooms indicate that housing is still at a premium in the area.

There was no immediate explanation for Mantashe's no show, but none of the usual razzmatazz of political party visits was evident in the suburb.

Jessie Duarte's entourage fanned out in Mitchell's Plain. Zuma was supposed to have visited Khayelitsha, but also cancelled.

Many people who spoke to News24 said they had not watched the State of the Nation address so they could not say what they thought of it.

But taxi driver Norman Mehlo said there was "fokkol nice" about the early exit by Cope and the EFF.

"We must respect Parliament,'' said Mehlo, waiting for customers.

Fellow taxi driver Welcome Zaku said that if a politician came along with a magic wand before the elections, he would wish for ''money and work".

A few people said they were "foreigners" so they had no right to say anything or wish for anything from the government.

Read more on:    cope  |  da  |  anc  |  eff  |  gwede mantashe  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  local elections 2016  |  politics  |  state of the nation 2016

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