Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kliptown Residents Feel Neglected Over Decade and a Half Into Democracy

Sthembiso Sithole

As local government elections approach thousands in Kliptown, Soweto, say they are confused on what they will be voting for as they are still receiving no services and their shacks are without electricity.

Some residents say they have registered to vote and have voted in the past, but are now weighing up their options almost 17 years into South Africa’s democracy. They feel the leaders they have voted into power have done nothing to improve their situation.

Many in Kliptown are still without adequate housing
provided freely by the government.
“I registered for the local municipal elections and I want a house and jobs for my children. It is hard for us living in these conditions, while ministers and the president live comfortably in parliament,” says resident indetifying herself as Mam’ Motswetse.

Motswetse says she has been in Kliptown since 1986 but has seen no improvement in 25 years.

Her family of ten family occupies a shack in the area and says none of her three children are employed and all ten survive on the government grant meant for her grandchildren.
Another resident, Qinisile Mazibuko, is one of the youngsters who believe that the government is

making empty promises. She says her vote has become that of hope as empty promises have been made in the past.

“We people have hopes that the government would bring change,” says Mazibuko.

She calls the election period a “silly season” and says all political parties are seen in full force then and disappear once the period is over.

“When it starts - election campaigns - the ruling party gives us food, constructs roads, builds RDP houses and convinces us that they are working hard to improve the quality of our lives,” Mazibuko continues.

Qinisile Mazibuko says Kliptown only gets attention around
election time.
Once the election season is over though all that stops according to her. “They are lazy to pick up the rubbish that is [on] the streets. All they know is to bribe us to vote for them. Other challenges that South Africans are faced with is the RDP houses bribes. People from outside (foreigners) own houses while our grandparents and parents registered for houses long time ago.”

Various political parties have been campaigning in different regions on South Africa and Soweto has been no exception ahead of the 18 May local government elections.

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