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Mixed feelings at Umkhondo Municipality ahead of elections

Residents of Umkhondo Municipality in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, have mixed feelings on the upcoming local government elections.

 

Some of the residents claim that lack of service delivery is still a big challenge in their communities. They are hesitant about casting their votes come August 3.

The Mkhondo Local Municipality is under the Gert Sibande District in Mpumalanga. The municipality is one of the most rural in the province.

Some of the residents from surrounding farming communities have raised concerns that they are still without basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.

They say it is worrying that after 20 years of democracy they are still forced to fetch water from nearby dams.

Most of the farm workers and dwellers here live in dilapidated mud houses.

But some of the residents like the Ndebele family in Vrede farm a few kilometres outside Piet Retief decided to build a brick house because their mud houses were destroyed by heavy rains.

However, their house was then allegedly demolished by the farm owner.

The Ndebele family and other residents allege that they do not get enough assistance when they are unfairly evicted on the farms.

A family member Nontokozo Ndebele says, “The red ants came and destroyed our houses, they always say services come to where we stay but now they want to remove us so I do not see any reason to vote because of that.”

Different political parties are promising residents that they will improve their lives if they vote for them.

Meanwhile, Umkhondo local Municipality mayor who is also a member of the African National Congress’s (ANC) Regional Executive Committee, Bhekabantu Mtshali says government has more plans aimed at improving service delivery.

“There are of course emerging parties and others but they do not have track record. They can shout and promise people things that they can to achieve. But we as the government of the ANC, we have experience now.”

Currently in Mkhondo, the ANC has 28 seats on the council while the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) have six and two respectively while the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has only one seat.

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