‘We won’t vote,’ say Zandspruit residents after ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa’s door-to-door

African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa lead a door-to-door voting campaign in Zandspruit Informal Settlement. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa lead a door-to-door voting campaign in Zandspruit Informal Settlement. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

Published Apr 15, 2024


By Simon Majadibodu

As the country is gearing up for the national elections on May 29, residents of Zandspruit Informal Settlement, in the north of Joburg, said that they were not buying into the African National Congress’ (ANC) promises.

Residents expressed their concerns to IOL News, stating that they were grappling with water shortages, frequent power outages, living in shacks, and a lack of adequate sanitation and electricity in the area.

A concerned resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, and has been staying in the area for over a decade, said that there has been no development in the area, and they feel neglected.

“I’ve been staying here more than 12 years and I’ve never witnessed any development taking place, even though there have been so many councillors. Yet, our struggles persist,” he told IOL News.

He expressed his decision not to vote, citing that political leaders made numerous promises that they ultimately failed to fulfil.

“I won’t vote because I don’t see any progress or development happening. I can’t continue voting while leaders repeatedly fail to deliver on their promises,“ he said.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa led a door-to-door voting campaign in the area on Saturday.

Ramaphosa said that he was criss-crossing around the province and assessing whether party leaders were performing their duties and providing services to the people.

“And, those who are not doing their duties will be given dismissed from their positions. However, where I have been around the province, I have seen that there’s a lot of work done,” he said.

Ramaphosa told the locals that during the 2021 elections, many did not cast their votes for the party, citing that they did not make sure that the ANC doesn’t have a coalition government in the City of Joburg Metropolitan Municipality.

“Many of you voted for other parties and you gave us big problems,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was flanked by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, City of Joburg’s MMC for Finance and Chairperson of the party in Greater Johannesburg Region, Dada Morero, and other officials.

“We have seen that when we are in a coalition government with small parties that are always making a lot of noise, there’s no proper services that is being done,” Ramaphosa said.

“When you vote for other parties and allowing coalition government you think that is democracy, but, you’re putting pressure on the ANC to deliver services in the manner that you want.”

Furthermore, Ramaphosa told the residents that plans were under way to construct proper RDP houses for them.

“We have a lot of work to do in Gauteng because it has more than 15 million people, however, we will build you proper houses where you will stay,” he said.

Zandspruit Informal Settlement residents express their concerns about service delivery failures in the area ahead of the national elections. Photo: Simon Majadibodu

Meanwhile, another frustrated resident, Kagiso Machaka, expressed grievances about water shortages and citing the unemployment rate also kept skyrocketing.

“I don’t see the point in voting because we’re facing significant struggles. We wake up at night to fetch water from afar, and we’re also dealing with unsafe electricity. They come and make promises that they won’t even fulfil,” Machaka lamented.

Additionally, speaking to IOL News, political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said that despite the ANC’s long tenure in power, it has failed to improve the lives of many people.

“The ANC has been in office without having to share power with any party. And it has failed dismally to change the social and economic realities of a majority of black people,” he said.

Seepe cited that Ramaphosa’s saying that coalition governments are a problem is just plain nonsense.

“If the ANC had done well, there would be no need for coalitions. Coalitions are a response to and result of ANC's failures,” he told IOL News.

He further said that Ramaphosa had promised a lot to the citizens of this country, but he failed to deliver the promises he made.

“Ramaphosa must talk about his own failures. He promised a lot. That’s what people expect from his administration. Instead of ushering a New Dawn, Ramaphosa’s administration has proven to be the most economically disastrous since 1994.”

Seepe said that since Ramaphosa has taken over as president, power utility, Eskom has lurched from one crisis to the next.

“Plunging the country into rolling blackouts. Load shedding has become a serious constraint on growth,” he said.

He further said that the mining sector, crucial to the economy, experienced a precipitous slump.

“The manufacturing sector has also gone into a downward spiral. Small and medium-sized enterprises have borne the brunt of the crisis of leadership of the Ramaphosa administration,” he continued.

Seepe said the middle class was largely disengaged from politics, citing that those who do engage, especially among the black middle class, were motivated by a sense of hope that they may benefit from initiatives established by the ANC government.

“So, targeting those who are desperate is easy since a majority of them are in such dire strait that they only get salvation from the government,” Seepe said.

“The informal settlement is home to the country’s destitute. Hence they have become the focus of party campaigns.”