President Jacob Zuma on Sunday renewed his appeal for unity in the ANC in the Western Cape ahead of the May 18 local government elections.
The ANC should unite and “put our differences aside”, he told a packed Dal Josephat Stadium in Paarl at the ANC’s provincial manifesto launch.
“We must unite to defeat the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape,” he said.
“We must take back the Cape Town metro as a first step in taking back the Western Cape in the next national election.
“I am confident we are ready to do so,” Zuma told the crowd of over 15 000 people.
He was convinced that when the votes were counted after May 18, Cape Town would be in the hands of the ANC.
“The ANC is something bigger than people think.”
Zuma said the ANC’s election manifesto was designed to make people’s experience of local government a better one.
He said past support for the ANC had enabled the party to reduce poverty.
Among other things, about 2,5-million houses had been built giving shelter to 10-million people since 1994.
‘An investment for a better life’
About 93% of homes now had access to clean water, 84% had electricity, and 77% had sanitation.
However, much remained to be done, especially at local government level, Zuma said.
The ANC had a plan to improve local government. It had listened to the people’s complaints, suggestions and compliments, and these had been taken into account in the manifesto.
He said the ANC remained committed to, among other things, reducing significantly the infrastructure backlogs, including water, electricity and sanitation, and “formalising” informal settlements.
The party also promised to increase the availability of rental housing.
Turning to councillors, Zuma said the ANC would ensure councillors served the people and were accountable to them. It was also increasing participation by communities in choosing candidates for councils. Communities had a right to reject those they did not want.
National and provincial government would also help those councils lacking capacity to “do their job”.
“A vote for the ANC is an investment for a better life,” he said.
Earlier, Western Cape provincial chairman Marius Fransman said he was giving notice the ANC was back to “reconnect with the people on the ground.” However, the challenge was to make everyone in the province feel welcome, he said. – Sapa