Monday, January 09, 2006

'We're sick and tired of empty promises'

Durban - At least two councillors have been murdered and homes of many others have been torched as 881 protests were held in 2005 - an average of 16 a day.

This is the anger South Africans vented in a violent show of dissatisfaction over the government's poor service delivery.

But local government elections loom and the ANC has produced another set of promises to deliver services and ensure councillors do their jobs. However, political observers warn it may not be enough to convince South Africans to vote in the local elections in March.In KwaZulu-Natal, 20 000 shack dwellers of the Abahlali Base Mjondolo (shack-dwellers' movement) proclaimed a "no land, no vote" stance.

"We're sick and tired of the empty promises of government for the past 10 years. Voting means putting politicians back in power to again oppress us. Anyone from our social movement will tell you it is a waste of time," Zikode said. "Our problems of needing housing, sanitation, water and electricity are only mentioned around election time," he added.

University of KwaZulu-Natal philosophy researcher Richard Pithouse said the fact that the ANC wanted to act against corrupt councillors may be an indication that they acknowledge things have gone very badly with the last term of office of council officials.

"The protests all over the country are a significant indication of people's anger and disillusionment. In some cases there were well over 5 000 people marching, and these were from among the poorest communities in the country," he said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on January 09, 2006

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