Ramaphosa to continue getting down and dirty filling potholes
Letsema Campaign seen by foes as ANC tool to gain popularity using state resources.
Despite serious backlash and criticism from other provinces, President Cyril Ramaphosa will this weekend continue with his Letsema Campaign in his ancestral province, Limpopo.
Ramaphosa will be in Mopani in the ANC-controlled Norman Mashabane region, where he will patch potholes alongside local party leaders and members.
He will start on the R36 between Nkowankowa township and Letaba hospital, outside Tzaneen. Ramaphosa launched the Letsema Campaign in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) in the Free State on 23 April.
“We can confirm that the president is coming to our region this Saturday,” Norman Mashabane regional spokesperson Peter Ngobeni said on Wednesday.
Ngobeni said the president would be joined by members and leaders of the ANC, as well as its structures, government officials from the region and the province.
Ramaphosa would begin with the work of the day patching potholes on the road between Bensulane four-way stop and Mokgoloboto, towards the T-Junction leading to Nkowankowa township, he said. The patching of potholes would culminate in the president’s address at Nkowankowa Stadium in Tzaneen.
On Wednesday, ANC Women’s League Norman Mashabane task team regional convenor Jostina Migashoa said the festivities would begin on Friday. The ANC Women’s League would lead a gender-based violence march from the ANC regional office to the Tzaneen police station.
The Letsema Campaign has been criticised by some, claiming the ANC was conflating party campaigning with official government work.
It was also seen by Ramaphosa’s political foes as an ANC tool to gain popularity using state resources.
But not everyone had a negative picture of the campaign. In a budget speech this year, Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said although the province had procured a sizeable number of ambulances from the provincial government, most of them got damaged within a few months because of the condition of the province’s roads.
Others commended the programme as being a step in the right direction and one which would swell the local economy.
On Wednesday, the Limpopo public works department said there were 22 000 kilometres of road in the province. “Of that total, 6 223km are tarred or paved, while the remaining 13 000km remained as gravel, waiting to be fixed,” said department spokesperson Witness Tiva.
He added the province had in August launched the so-called operation Thiba Mekoti Ditseleng (block potholes in roads, in Sotho). He said the programme aimed to patch 180 000 square metres of potholes in all the province’s five regions. Work would be completed within six months.
The operation, according to Tiva, is part of a nationwide drive called operation Vala Zonke (isiZulu for close all) and is aimed at accelerating the patching of potholes. The programme is part of the work the president will be doing in Tzaneen on Saturday.