WATCH | Hostile reception for ANC as Maluti-a-Phofung municipality residents air grievances to Ramaphosa

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  • Disgruntled residents from the cash strapped ANC governed Maluti-a-Phofung gave the ANC a hostile reception.
  • The ANC was campaigning in the failed municipality in the eastern Free State on Sunday.
  • Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela and Maluti-a-Phofung mayor, Masechaba Lakaje, were booed by the crowd as they were being introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Residents from the failing ANC governed Maluti-a-Phofung municipality made their grievances known to the ANC when the party led by President Cyril Ramaphosa embarked on the campaign trail in the area on Sunday. 

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela and Maluti-a-Phofung mayor, Masechaba Lakaje bore the brunt of the community's anger as they were heckled by a packed crowd in the Makwane Sports Ground in Phuthaditjhaba, a town that falls under the failing Maluti-a-Phofung municipality. 

The hostile crowd, although more receptive to the president, made it clear that they did not want to be addressed by Ntombela and Lakaje. 

ANC supporters in Maluti-a-Phofung. (Kayleen Morgan, News24)

When the pair was introduced by the president to the crowd, some booed, while other community members shouted "we know them and they have not done anything for us". 

Other residents who had packed the sports ground resorted to the gesture that has become synonymous with fans at a soccer match when calling for a player to be substituted. 

READ | In Maluti-a-Phofung, the ANC lives with regret as ex-councillors gear up for a full takeover

Residents who spoke to News24, raised concerns about the unemployment rate, the lack of service delivery and the internal infighting in the ANC which was "at the expense of the community" - these were some of the reasons they were no longer interested in hearing "excuses" from the provincial and regional leadership. 

"We are actually here in our numbers at this sports facility to express our grievances to Ramaphosa, not as the ANC leader, but as the leader of the country which includes some of us who have long lost hope in the ANC. 

ANC supporters attend an address by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Maluti-a-Phofung on 17 October 2021. (Kayleen Morgan, News24)

"His [Ramaphosa's] party has failed us in this town and we want to make that known to him. We want to hear what he will do to the failing leaders and don't care much about the apologies cause those don't really do much in terms of changing the conditions that we are being subjected to," said 72-year-old Joseph Mokoena.

Mokoena said he had been living in Makwena for the past 30 years and "the conditions have been worsened instead of improving". 

Makwena is an area which falls under ward 31 of the cash strapped Maluti-a-Phofung municipality.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing supporters in Maluti-a-Phofung on 17 October 2021. (Kayleen Morgan, News24)

READ | ANC is the real champion of the people, other parties are 'Mickey Mouse' - Ramaphosa

The ANC had previously lost the ward to the MAP16 Civic Movement, which was made up of 16 councillors expelled by the ANC - after they were accused of working with the opposition to unseat former mayor Vusi Tshabalala, a known ally of secretary-general Ace Magashule, who faces a raft of corruption charges - and then ran as independents.

ANC supporters in Maluti-a-Phofung on 17 October 2021. (Kayleen Morgan, News24)

In the by-elections held in September 2019 subsequent to the councillors' dismissal, the ANC only managed to retain five wards and lost 10 to the the former councillors turned independent candidates. 

Ramaphosa whose party has been on an apology crusade leading up to the 1 November municipal elections, again went on the charm offensive, acknowledging that some of the party's previously elected candidates had not been people-focused and that "this would not be repeated" by the current crop of candidates representing the ANC. 

He pleaded with the community to again give the ANC a chance as it would not disappoint them again.

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