Community members motivate youngsters while ANC defectors plot takeover in North West municipality

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A group of local businesspeople launched a sanitary pad donation and youth motivation campaign in schools. Photo: Supplied
A group of local businesspeople launched a sanitary pad donation and youth motivation campaign in schools. Photo: Supplied

ELECTIONS


One way for politicians to drive their agenda in Zeerust’s Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality is through recruiting disgruntled and unemployed young people into public violence and disruptive conduct. This is according to residents of the area.

Going to the upcoming local government elections on Monday, Ramotshere, North West, is one of the ANC’s worst-performing municipalities, but there is a fierce power struggle within the governing party to gain control of the municipality

A defection by former ANC councillors to contest the municipal elections as independent candidates under the banner of Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) has also heightened tensions in the small mining and agricultural town.

READ: North West municipality allegedly replaced highly qualified employees with matriculant

Locals told City Press last week that the culture of intolerance had also spread to community structures, where most elderly people chose to stay away from gatherings such as tribal meetings to avoid insults from children. For their return on investment, the political handlers allegedly shower the youth brigade with booze.

Census records showed that the Zeerust area had 36.2% unemployment, which spiked to 45.8% among young people. At least 20.7% of people 20 years and older had no schooling, 21.1% had matric and 6.4% had higher education.

Community members plug the gap

Last Friday, a group of local businesspeople launched a sanitary pad donation and youth motivation campaign in schools as part of the drive to reverse the decay and restore the pride of the Bahurutshe tribe, who are the indigenous inhabitants of the Zeerust area.

Project initiator and businesswoman Lerato Motswiri acknowledged that government alone would not be able to empower young people and alleviate poverty among the rural communities in the area, “and, therefore, businesspeople also have a role to play”.

The event started at Phatlhoso High School in Motswiri’s home village, then went on to Motswedi High School in the vicinity of former Bophuthatswana President Lucas Mangope’s homestead and ended at Ngotwane High School, where former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe went to school.

Teachers mentioned that the schools had challenges with dropouts and teenage pregnancy.

READ: Why the ANC is in trouble in North West

Several members of the provincial executive had been invited to join Motswiri’s campaign, including Premier Bushy Maape and Education MEC Wendy Matsemela. But only Finance MEC Motlalepula Rosho was able to make it.

The organisers were clear that even though the campaign was taking place during election season and most local matric learners were of voting age, the event should not be clouded by politics.

Radio and television broadcaster Penny Lebyane tapped on Radebe’s achievements in Leeds in England to inspire the young learners that they are capable of greatness. Actor, musician and comedian, Carpo – real name Solomon More – shared his childhood life struggles together with his friend and fellow rap star Cassper Nyovest, and how they had to beat all odds and avoid the trappings of drug abuse on their road to fame.

Elections season suspense

On Sunday, the F4SD held an election rally at Braklaagte sports grounds – about 15km from Zeerust town – where the party paraded hundreds of defectors from the ANC.

The fallout in the ANC was attributed to the alleged manipulation of election lists, which saw council speaker Alfred Nyamane and others desert the party.

On Friday Nyamane also condemned the abuse of young people by power-hungry politicians, saying that since 2018 he also campaigned to inspire young people and assist as many as possible to gain higher qualifications.

“I realised that a lot of times are young people are being used for wrong things. We targeted the matric learners and encouraged them to apply to universities. We helped those who were unable to afford by raising funds from businesspeople.”

I was charged for raising the money and buying food parcels that I donated to the needy. Instead, I was accused of using municipal funds
Alfred Nyamane

He said that to date, more than 300 young people from Ramotshere were enrolled in tertiary institutions through the intervention. “This year we know more than 60 students who are graduating,” he said.

According to Nyamane, his problems in the ANC started last year during the national lockdown, when he lobbied local businesspeople to contribute money to buy food parcels that were donated to indigent people.

“I was charged for raising the money and buying food parcels that I donated to the needy. Instead, I was accused of using municipal funds, and that I conducted the programme wearing ANC regalia. I was then suspended but the national disciplinary committee overturned the charges”.

He blamed the coordinator of the ANC interim provincial committee, Hlomane Chauke, for driving his removal from the ANC.

As a political animal, I did not have a choice but to look for a new home
Nyamane

In July last year, he said, the opposition and other ANC councillors in council wrote a petition to remove the mayor.

“I had to call a council meeting to debate the petition, but thereafter it was alleged that I was part of the plot to write the petition. My membership was temporarily suspended, after which I appealed the sentence”.

Then, earlier this year, the local ANC structures elected him to stand as a proportional representation councillor in the upcoming elections. But the ANC would not let him sign the acceptance form for the nomination and he was not invited to the interviews.

Penny Lebyane
Radio and television broadcaster Penny Lebyane tapped on Radebe’s achievements in Leeds in England to inspire the young learner. Photo: Supplied

“When I asked, they then said that I had been expelled. As a political animal, I did not have a choice but to look for a new home. Therefore, I did not jump ship, but the ANC kicked me out,” said Nyamane.

Last Friday the F4SD conducted interviews for mayoral candidates throughout North West and Nyamane was among the three people contesting the post in Ramotshere.


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Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Setumo.Stone@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park


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