Residents crash school opening hoping to question Ramaphosa

Residents crash school opening hoping to question Ramaphosa

When residents of Ekuvukeni heard that President Cyril Ramaphosa would be visiting nearby Dannhauser to open a school, they travelled there by bus to go and ask him questions.

This comes after a community protest at Ekuvukeni in March when Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda was forced to abandon a meeting with the community, as members demanded to see the president instead. As previously reported on Localvoices.co.za, Kaunda was accused of lying to and disrespecting the community.

Community members are angry about the lack of water and broken sewage pipes. A contractor was sent to the area after this incident, but residents have still insisted they want their grievances heard.

The towns are around 75km apart, near Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal. 

President Ramaphosa was in the area with MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala and MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Mthandeni Dlungwana to officially open the R130m Enhlahleni Primary School.

Despite their trip to see the president on 17 April, they were not given an opportunity to ask questions.  Disappointed pupils’ and residents of Ekuvukeni said they still want to speak to the president and the Minister of Basic Education. – Nqubeko community radio (edited by Siya Motha)

MEC launches call centre, but residents not impressed

MEC launches call centre, but residents not impressed

The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development Wezile Thusi visited Caluza, Pietermaritzburg, to launch a call centre and hand out food parcels, blankets and walking sticks.

Although it is only three weeks until the election, the event on April 16 was presented as apolitical. The MEC did not wear the colours of her party, the ANC, and stayed away from direct electioneering.

But residents nevertheless expressed disappointment with government delivery, complaining that promises are not kept and saying they see no reason to vote in the May 8 election.

People who attended the event highlighted other problems they face.  One resident, Phumzile Gezo, said she needs a proper house. “I am a tenant because I do not have a proper home, I am expecting to get a proper shelter because I am currently suffering. ”

Gezo added that she is registered to vote but she doesn’t see the reason to vote because the government has been giving her empty promises.

Thusi told the crowd at the Caluza Sports Centre  that the aim of the call center is to allow people from all over KwaZulu-Natal to report social issues such as gender based violence. The  center, at the number 087 158 3000, will also take calls from elsewhere in the country, and is linked to the police as well as the social workers in the province.

“The call centre will operate twenty hour hours, seven days a week,” the MEC said. – Umgungundlovu FM (edited by Siyabonga Motha)

Caluza residents tell Umgungundlovu FM that they need housing and aren’t sure they want to vote.
Marikana community’s election tactic to get housing

Marikana community’s election tactic to get housing

The community living in Marikana, an informal settlement outside Potchefstroom, are using the election period to press their demands for improved housing.

First, the community refused to allow the mayor of JB Marks Municipality, councilor Kgotso Khumalo of the African National Congress to hold an election rally, insisting on an imbizo instead. 

The imbizo was held on April 4, and saw the mayor and housing officials promise that the area will start to be developed during elections month.

In early March, the community had already sent a lawyer’s letter to the municipality demanding that the area must be upgraded. The municipality has been given until April 18 to respond.

According to community leader Thembisile Tekani, proper stands, water and electricity are their primary needs. Tekani said the community is hopeful that the area will be formalized and schools as well as clinics will be built for them.

Marikana is an informal settlement area about 10km away from Potchefstroom.  The area was formed after community demands for proper stands to build houses. The community said they waited for so long for the JB Marks municipality to allocate stands and that they were tired of living at their parent’s houses. – Aganang FM

Local arts finance becomes election issue

Local arts finance becomes election issue

In a broadcast election debate, Durban-based Vibe FM turned its attention to the question of local arts funding.

African National Congress representative Amanda Bhani was asked why the eThekwini Municipality and other municipalities in KwaZulu Natal don’t have proper policy on the funding of art. In response, Bunny said the city of eThekwini had drafted an arts policy that is being circulated for discussion with stakeholders.

The Democratic Alliance’s Nicole Graham accused the local ANC would claim there is little money available for arts and culture, but this is not the case. She added that unfunded mandates only means that it’s not listed as competency of the municipality.

Msizi Mkhize of Black First Land First (BLF) said that the art industry  in South Africa is not taken seriously. He added that the private sector in the arts is owned by white people and this is why they run activities everywhere. Mkhize said money is only allocated to well-developed areas.

The National Freedom Party’s Skhumbuzo Sibisi stated that art and culture should be associated with tourism so artists can been exposed to different people who visit the country. He also added that positions in the art department are given to people who do not know anything about the industry.

The ANC also emphasized that they are not focused on mainstream art issues but they are more focused on local art as they use local centres to minimize cost.

Other political parties were invited but they did not arrive.

An edited extract from Vibe FM’s arts debate

Click here to listen to the full debate.

Alex protests continue as DA, ANC point fingers at each other

The #AlexShutdown protest saw residents march into Sandton to hand over a memorandum of demands on April 8, as parties continued to point fingers at each other.

However the memorandum was not received by the municipal director or the executive Mayor Herman Mashaba as residents requested.

Speaking to Local Voices, Alex FM reporter Malesela Mangena  said the protest has been postponed until Thursday, 11th April. He reported that organisers fear the protest may become chaotic and found it best to suspend the march as residents have become inpatient with the municipal office.

In response to the #AlexShutdown, Gauteng Premier  David Makhura announced on Twitter that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the community of Alexandra on Thursday at Alex Stadium.

Responding to the Democratic Alliance’s claim that the African National Congress is inciting violence in Alex, he said the opposition is “blame-shifting” and not delivering to the community.

The ruling party’s  Tumelo Ramoshala said “the ANC is sharing the same sentiment as the community of Alexandra and raising out their own grievances over the dissatisfaction of service delivery.”

He adde it was unfortunate that Solly Msimanga, DA candidate for Gauteng Premier, was trying to shift attention from the issue of service delivery to its political opponents. 

Alex FM reporter Malesela Mangena describes events in Alexandra