Rastafarian prophet Andrew Saulls knows his neighbourhood well and predicts it will only get better under the ruling party.
Some days Andrew Saulls gathers his long dreadlocks in a turban and some days he lets them hang loose around his shoulders. He carries a sceptre with him wherever he goes and calls himself Prophet Andrew. He is a Rastafarian.
He lives in Floral Park, a coloured community in Bethelsdorp, affectionately known as the Northern Areas, outside Port Elizabeth.
The area is rof (rough) by a suburban dweller’s standards, he says. Trash clogs the broken drains and corrugated-iron backyard shacks lean against RDP houses. People shout at each other across the pot-holed roads, over the barking dogs and speeding taxis. Gangsterism is “heavy here”, he says.
He has lived in the Northern Areas for 46 years: his whole life. The residents in his community “apprecialove” that their water and electricity bills are not high, he says.
This is because the ANC has given them water and electricity – “some of it is free”.
“But the houses aren’t perfect and they aren’t enough … you saw for yourself how many backyarders there are,” he says.
The ANC has promised to provide more houses over the next five years, he says, and “they are going to lay on housing for the people from the time the sun rises to the time it sets”.
Saulls is the chairperson of the Bethelsdorp school governing body forum, which represents 69 schools.
“There was so much chaos around the shortage of teachers and we were sad to see that the ANC didn’t get involved … but I will work hard to make sure they come to the party.”
He expected his and other residents’ votes for the party to ensure that it finds solutions to the problems of unemployment, and “speak to us about affirmative action”, he says.
“As the coloured people, we never agreed that the ANC must go forward with this affirmative action thing. We don’t like it when we stand in a queue and a Xhosa brother gets served first even though he came late.”
ANC the only answer
But voting for the ANC is the only answer, the only solution, the only prospect, he says.
For his five children and his wife, life will continue to get better under “the ANC banner” over the next five years.
“Because that banner was created by the voice of the people, workers – not people who went and studied politics at university.”
He knows the politics of the area, he says, “like the back of my hand and the palm of my hand”.
“You must hearken what you heard when you spoke to the people here the other day …
“The DA [Democratic Alliance] doesn’t have structures to help the poor people on the ground and to lead them but the ANC does.”
And the DA, he says, “is going to have a hard time bringing the ANC down”.