/ 27 July 2016

The top-performing Midvaal municipality is DA-run, but it’s a must-win for the ANC

The Top Performing Midvaal Municipality Is Da Run, But It's A Must Win For The Anc

The ANC’s Midvaal mayoral candidate, Tefo Molakeng, is confident his party will unseat the Democratic Alliance in the local elections on August 3. Midvaal is the only DA-run municipality in Gauteng.

For the past two years it has been ranked the top-performing municipality in terms of quality of life by the provincial government’s Municipal Financial Sustainability Index.

Despite the DA’s achievements in Midvaal, Molakeng told the Mail & Guardian this week that the majority of residents in the area were fed up with the DA’s discriminatory policies and were in need of a party that would “make their lives better”.

Molakeng accused the DA of neglecting townships and that it was delivering services only to suburban areas, which are mostly occupied by white people.

“The DA has ruled in Midvaal since 2001, but the lives of poor people, mainly blacks in townships, have not changed. In fact, they are worse off,” said Molakeng.

In the past few weeks Midvaal has experienced sporadic protests in Meyerton and surrounding areas, mainly by ANC supporters.

When the M&G visited the area last week, protesters, mostly from the informal settlements, were burning tyres and blocking roads, including the R59 highway. The protesters accused the current mayor, Bongani Baloyi, who is also the DA’s mayoral candidate, of not delivering on his promises to supply electricity, water and access to decent sanitation.

Buyisile Tsholoba, a resident in Sicelo informal settlement, accused the DA of painting a “rosy picture” about Midvaal in the media, yet it neglected many poor people in the townships.

“Baloyi has not even visited Sicelo but he tells people that his party has put [in] electricity and toilets. We want him to show us the electricity he claims to have put [in],” said Tsholoba.

But a few streets away from the protesters, Flora Samba, a Meyerton resident for nearly 15 years, praised the DA’s service delivery record since it came into power in 2001.

“We are not working [but] the DA has been treating us [well]. They never cut our electricity and water,” said Samba, the mother of five children, who has been unemployed for more than five years.

“In my house, I’m the only one who supports the ANC – everyone else supports the DA – and I think in the elections now I’m also going to vote DA.”

Samba said her decision to abandon the ANC was hard, but she will vote for the DA because the party has delivered for the people of Midvaal.

She accused the ANC of providing services only to those who were political connected or those who are friends with powerful politicians in the ANC.

According to Statistics South Africa, there are 29 965 households in the Midvaal municipality: 64.9% of these households have access to piped water, 17.9% have water in their yard and 4.2% do not have access to piped water. Almost 60% of these households have flushing toilets and nearly 75% have electricity.

The ANC has identified Midvaal municipality as a must-win area, but the DA is not having sleepless nights about the prospects of losing control of the area. Baloyi accused ANC supporters of inciting residents to protest, with the goal of destabilising the DA before the elections.

“In the time that the DA has governed, there have been drastic improvements across the municipality. When we make promises, we deliver,” said Baloyi, who is the youngest mayor in the country.

The DA, Baloyi said, made three promises to Midvaal residents when it took over – to cut corruption, focus on economic growth and job creation, and to deliver better services.

“If you look at the most recent census statistics, they are showing drastic improvements in service delivery since 2001 – and with Midvaal having the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 12%.”

StatsSA puts Midvaal’s population at just over 95 000, with 70% making up the 15 to 64 working age group. Unemployment rate in the area stood at 18.8%, with 24.4% of young people without jobs.

Gauteng province lost about 195 000 jobs in the first quarter of this year and the DA’s campaign in the province has focused on creating jobs for the unemployed.

But the ANC has accused the DA of neglecting young people in Midvaal and said they were unemployed because the DA has failed to implement youth skills programmes.

“There is not even a public high school close by,” said Molakeng. “We only have a private school and that’s another form of exclusion by the DA.”