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By Stephen Tau


Ramaphosa’s Sedibeng visit: Has electioneering season started?

Opposition councillors and residents expect nothing but empty promises regarding municipality's continued challenges.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to different areas of the Sedibeng District Municipality, south of Johannesburg, has been described as pure electioneering.

Ramaphosa arrived in Sedibeng at around 10am on Friday, and was welcomed by Cabinet ministers and local leaders.

Sedibeng comprises of three local municipalities: Emfuleni, Midvaal and Lesedi.

Emfuleni has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for a while, and is currently under the leadership of a coalition, following last year’s Local Government Elections.

However, Midvaal remains under the control of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Lesedi is led by the African National Congress (ANC).

Emfuleni has for years been gripped by poor service delivery issues, ranging from poor road conditions, sewage leaks, and unreliable water and electricity supply.

The municipality has also been under administration since 2018.

It was hoped that by placing the municipality under administration, things would change for the better, but as things stand, the situation seems to have become even worse.

Ward councilor for the Freedom Front Plus (FFP), Gerda Senekal says: “Our issues of raw sewerage running in many streets, relentless electricity cuts and water issues remain unresolved and the situation is just getting worse by the day”.

Hot air and empty promises

Asked about their expectations from Ramaphosa’s visit on Friday, Senekal said they aren’t expecting much more than empty promises.

“This is just propaganda ahead of the 2024 General Election, but we will listen to the president and hear what he has to say. But, we are not expecting any big difference from his visit.

“Emfuleni has been under administration and the premier of Gauteng – David Makhura, during a recent visit here, mentioned that they might take the municipality out of administration. Why such a move when the situation has just gotten worse? I really don’t understand,” Senekal said.

A resident and former ward councilor, Christo Smith, echoed Senekal’s sentiments saying not even Ramaphosa’s visit would bring about change to the struggling municipality.

“We view this as just another electioneering exercise. Different government leaders have been here in recent days to announce plans on how to deal with the pothole issue, but we all know that it’s just talk and less action,” Smith added.

Just like in many other parts of the country, residents of Emfuleni have on numerous occasions held protests over poor service delivery.

The municipality has also been rocked by corruption allegations.

ALSO READ: Emfuleni municipality rocked by fresh corruption allegations

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