President Jacob Zuma’s charm and signature dance moves did little to excite Stellenbosch township residents who had gathered in their numbers on Wednesday hoping to get a clear explanation on basic services such as electricity, only to receive an invitation for the ANC’s 103-year anniversary celebration.
Sporting umbrellas, straw and bucket hats with children strapped to their backs and held up on their shoulders, hundreds of Nkanini informal settlement residents left their shacks and homes in the dusty area and crowded around the stage, while some chose to listen to the ANC president’s pitch from their rooftops.
Zuma has been going from township to township in Cape Town since Tuesday this week, as part of the party’s aggressive campaign to build up excitement about its birthday celebration this weekend.
The Nkanini informal residents, however, said they were not impressed with his visit, because he did not even take the time to ask them what they needed as a community, before extending the invitation to a party.
Some grumbled to themselves while he was singing and speaking on stage, asking if attending the party would lead to them getting electricity.
Nobuntu Fata (55) said she did not understand why the president rushed through his visit in the township.
“They got here and told us they were short on time and just invited us to a party. He should have given himself enough time to listen to some of the issues we are faced with daily, instead of showing up to invite us to party. Going to the party is not going to make up for the fact that there is no electricity here.
“The fact that we have to live with candle lit dinners by force and have no decent schools. We gathered here because we thought he was going to talk about our problems, and I’m sure most of the people here are not going to go to that party. We will still come back to shacks and darkness.”
She said the residents could not party when they were unhappy.
Another resident, Nosive Kibido (29) said she was disappointed that the president had not even asked what challenges they were faced with.
“He cannot tell us he will change our lives, when he has no idea what kind of change is needed here. We have been living in shacks for so long that I don’t even trust the politicians anymore. They can enjoy their party, we are not going there.”
Toppling the DA
The president visited Nkanini informal settlement outside Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon – straight from the ANC’s NEC meeting, and enthusiastically stepped on stage, where he invited the residents to join the party’s festivities on Saturday.
He was accompanied by deputy minister of labour, Phathekile Holomisa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, as well as a number of ANC ward councillors from Stellenbosch.
Zuma asked the residents to make sure they were part of the drive to topple “the party I can’t even remember that runs this province. The party that only takes care of residents in Rondebosch and does not know poverty”.
“We took a decision to come to Cape Town this year, to celebrate the birthday of the ANC, because there is something that hasn’t happened here yet. We have not taken this province from that party and we will,” he said, referring to the Democratic Alliance (DA).
He said they wanted to take the province from the DA because there was too much poverty in the area.
“When we look around, and drive around the different poor areas, we can see that those in power don’t care about your needs. We want to change that. So the future of this province is in your hands. So lets work together next year to take this municipality. Because this area is not theirs.
“So everyone has to vote and make sure they vote right. We will work for you. You should not be made to feel like refugees in your own country. We are not playing this time, sitshica igazi [we are spitting blood]. So come party with us, Koze Kuse, akulalwa [until the morning comes],” Zuma said.