/ 12 May 2011

PAC ready to take over Balfour municipality

Pan Africanist Congress president Letlapa Mphahlele told Ngoako Matsha that the people of Mpumalanga should brace themselves for the first PAC-run municipality in Balfour

PAC puts much emphasis on African aspirations; do you expect votes from white South Africans?
That is not the language of the PAC. We believe you’re an African if you’re born in Africa and Africa is rooted in you and when you’re not an oppressor to the indigenous Africans. We are taking our campaigns to the white communities, and in some wards we have fielded white candidates. However, we have not been able to attract white people into the PAC.

What is your stance on service delivery protests and how do you plan to address that?
We believe it is caused by the social gap between the rich and the poor. Our people don’t have any sense of belonging in society. For example, in Kimberly, the provision of solar power geysers in households is done on party membership basis and that alienates a lot of people. Even if we can provide everyone with houses, the protests will still continue, because we have not narrowed the gap between the rich and the poor.

How are PAC councillors different from other political parties’ councillors?
They haven’t been unique, but we plan to make them unique. There is going to be a code of conduct that they must abide by and it will be made public. We don’t want them to be party worshipers or loyalists, in an attempt to prolong their terms as councillors. We don’t want underground councillors that are not known in their communities, with no fixed address and contact details.

The pace of land reform in South Africa is undeniably slow; how does the PAC plan to accelerate the process?
We are objective about the land question. The constitution and the property clause in this country say the right to private property cannot be challenged. The descendants of European settlers own over 80% of the land in this country and this is prime land. We need to change that property clause because it endorses colonialism, but this will require more than winning local government elections.

If PAC were to win a big municipality like Johannesburg, do you have the capacity to run such a big municipality?
I don’t think among our cadres and members we have the know-how and capable people to run a municipality as big as Johannesburg. However, we believe that it is the responsibility we should share with citizens in that municipality.

How many wards does the PAC control?
We are controlling two wards nationally. One in Vryburg, in the North West province and the other one we won during the by-elections in 2010, in Parys in the Free State province. We are aiming at winning 400 wards nationally in the coming elections.

Which municipality do you stand a chance of winning?
Municipalities with 4 or 6 wards are winnable. I am confident we are going to do better than ever before, if we lose it will be by a very thin margin. In Balfour in Mpumalanga province, I think we might pull as surprise and win a municipality. South Africa is likely to see the first PAC Mayor in Balfour.