I want a better future for my children, says Platfontein resident

2016-07-08 11:36
Platfontein is a small Northern Cape town. (New24)

Kimberley – David Mbangu's only hope of a promising future for his children is to take part in the local government elections on August 3.

Mbangu, a resident of Platfontein in the Northern Cape, told News24 on Tuesday that the community was in desperate need of change - as many were unemployed.

"I want my children to be lawyers and doctors. That is why I am going to vote this year. I don't want them suffering the way we do," he said.

Mbangu will be voting for the first time on August 3.

The 31-year-old has been living in Platfontein since 2005. He works as a security guard at a local radio station.

The first thing that comes to view in the area, which is a home to the !Xun and Khwe San communities, are the brown tents in most households. Most houses have broken windows.

Women and men in the area gather and sit in the sun, the children run around. The smell of fire lingers in the air.

Young men walk the street with bottles of alcohol in their hands.

"We are used to suffering and no one seems to be paying any attention to us, but my children are going to have a better future than what I have today. I trust that the government will help us," said Mbangu.

"This is what people do every day," he said, pointing to men and women who sit in the sun in front of their houses.

"We don't have jobs and we only rely on grant money. Crime in the area has also increased because people are desperate."

'No opportunities'

A woman, who has her one-year-old baby strapped to her back while smoking a cigarette on the street, says there are days when her family goes to bed on empty stomachs.

"Our only hope in the community would be to vote, even though every election period they come here and make promises that they can’t even keep. But we hope this year it will be different," she said.  

Another woman, dressed in a black worn-out jacket and black pants, with dark bristly hair, says she too has been relying on government grants.

She has four children, aged 1, 4, 8 and 14. Her husband is also unemployed.

"I am a young person and I live on grants and the worst thing is that I don’t have skills. Sometimes I work at the farm so that I can put food on the table - but sometimes there is no job at the farms," Christina Sinhangue told News24.

"Sometimes we beg for food - this doesn't mean we are lazy people. We just don't have opportunities. I can work as a domestic worker, I know how to iron and wash clothes. The community has a lot of people who lack skills and we never see government initiatives around the area.

"I am going to vote, but I don't know who I will be voting for - I am not really clued up about politics," she added.  

In the previous local government elections, the African National Congress won the Sol Plaatje municipality with 63.97%. The Democratic Alliance came second with 26.3 % of the vote, followed by Congress of the People with 7.7%.

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.

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