Zuma, govt officials return to Elsies with more promises

2017-05-30 22:36
A packed community hall where President Jacob Zuma and government officials addressed residents of Elsies River. (Jenni Evans, News24)

A packed community hall where President Jacob Zuma and government officials addressed residents of Elsies River. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Mbalula on Courtney Pieters: 'Parents must take responsibility as guardians'

2017-05-26 10:38

Parents should not be reckless about who looks after their children, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said in Elsies River on Thursday, where the locals are still grieving the murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and a convoy of government officials descended on Elsies River on Tuesday with a bag full of promises after the murder of Courtney Pieters.

Children and adults packed the Adriaanse Civic Centre, where the memorial service for the three-year-old girl was held two weeks ago. They chuckled as Zuma greeted them in his shaky Afrikaans.

Zuma arrived close to the advertised 14:00 starting time, accompanied by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. The deputy ministers of sport and police, Gert van der Merwe and Bongani Mkongi, were also in the delegation, as was National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

Zuma showed no signs of political bruising as he addressed residents on opposition DA turf. He reiterated how horrified he was by Courtney's murder and said he felt crime in South Africa was very high.

“Enough is enough. We want to work with the community to find solutions,” Zuma said.

Residents were also still reeling after a shooting, apparently gang-related, in nearby Leonsdale on May 1. Rising soccer star Fernando Williams was among four people killed.

Zuma said the ANC's national executive committee had decided that the only way to protect people was for residents to form street committees to look after each other, and to help police find the criminals.

Sisulu asked for a show of hands of all the people who did not own their own home, and then promised that she would find everybody land if they were prepared to build the houses.

“I will find land and have it serviced, and you will come here and build your own houses.”

She claimed gangsters were hampering government's efforts to build houses.

‘Contact me’

Her announcement that she would take Courtney Pieters' mother around Elsies River next week to find a more suitable residence than the room her family was renting, did not go down well with the audience.

They muttered and complained and Sisulu quickly moved on, saying: “Each indigent family should have a house.”

Dlamini explained that R198.7m in social grants was already being paid out in Elsies River. The area had 11 funded and registered early childhood development centres. She announced plans for a women's co-operative, which would make school uniforms and grow vegetables.

Mkongi said nearby Gugulethu would get a mobile police station, which would be delivered on Friday.

Last week, he and Mbalula handed over the mobile police station parked in front of the civic centre.

Residents used their time on the roving microphone to complain about a lack of social workers, particularly at schools, truancy and school drop outs, crime, gangsterism, and bureaucracy for small businesses.

Zuma closed the meeting with an invitation to contact him with any problems and a promise to drop in again, unannounced, to make sure there were improvements.

“If you think I’m not doing anything, contact me. If I don't respond, come to Genadendal. Or in my office. No, Nkandla is too far,” he joked.

“When I am in Parliament come and contact me to say nothing is happening.”

And with a jaunty “mooi bly” (keep well), Zuma left the hall, stopping for selfies and to wave at the people shouting his name.

President Jacob Zuma stops for a selfie with Leonsdale resident Eunice Moss (Jenni Evans, News24)

Read more on:    courtney pieters  |  bongani mkongi  |  jacob zuma  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  cape town  |  housing  |  crime

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