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Communities given platform to air their grievances post elections

Political parties criss-crossed the length and breadth of South Africa drumming-up support in the lead up to the local government elections.

 

These electioneering platforms gave communities opportunities to air their grievances, and also afforded politicians chances to hear first-hand what challenges will need to be addressed post elections.

The right to move freely in South Africa is enshrined in the country’s Constitution, but people with albinism in the Umkhanyakude district, in far northern KwaZulu-Natal, say they do not enjoy that benefit.

Last month, a 28-year-old woman was arrested in the area while she was allegedly trying to sell a child with albinism.

The incident underlined the harsh reality of life for albinos in some communities that they are unsafe simply because of their condition.

Thandazile Nxumalo had a simple plea to make sure that they’re safe as she is even afraid to go out and ask for help from her neighbours because she does not trust anybody.

“I am asking the government to give me money so that I will not move out and ask for jobs. I need protection all the time. I do not trust anybody no except my family. I can’t even go to the local shop because I am not safe.”

Local inyanga uGod’Olulalala Amankankane was commended for reporting the attempted sale of the child to the police.

KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Health Practitioners chairperson Khothisa Ngubane says local and district municipalities must ensure all traditional healers are registered.

“We have got a policy whereby we need each and every health practioner must be registered and be known by all local structures such Amakhosi and others so that it will be easy to identify those who drag the name of healers through the mud.”

Although the incident has dented the image of the area, political parties pulled out all the stops this week to set a good example of how leaders of different political parties can coexist harmoniously.

They sometimes used the same vehicles, shared meals and sometimes even braaied together in an effort to cement unity and good relations.

African National Congress (ANC)Leader in the area Juda says, “We do not have any problem between ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) as we are neighbours. If an IFP has a bouquet we go there and share as we are the brothers and sisters. In this area we never, never fight each other. We do have a number of political parties such as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and independent candidates who are new but we have to teach them how they should behave as we cannot tolerate any misbehaviour in this area. We teach them to calm down.”

IFP local senior member Maqhawe Nsele says the unity will remain, even after elections. He says local leaders of the ANC are brothers and sisters to them irrespective of political and ideological differences.

“We like each other and share same values of Ubuntu. As I am an IFP member, I attend ANC functions and also traditional ceremonies for ANC leaders. We help each other all the time. This area has been quite for years.”

The arrival of two senior local residents to ask the IFP leader for T-shirts turned into laughter as they realised one was wearing an ANC T-shirt.

Zakhe Mathenjwa was the first Emanyiseni local resident to cast his vote in the area. But his message is simple, people need development.

Afterwards, while voting stations were busy releasing election results, drama erupted at Jozini local IEC office.

Members of the IFP, EFF and Democratic Alliance (DA) spent the whole night in the office demanding unprocessed data from the voting districts.

IFP representative Thembeni Madlopha says, “We wanted the raw data from the IEC they transpired from other VD’s but they refused, instead they decided to lock the office and we said no we cannot go out until we get that raw data, so that we can compare them with that we have from our party agent. If we check the information we find that some of the VD’s were not captured and some were captured incorrectly.”

Meanwhile, EFF representative Phakamani Dlamini says, “If this issue of not issuing us with the results is not dealt with in an appropriate way, we are going to stay here and even it means we stay here for five days, we will do that. And we are sick and tired of this. We want to satisfy ourselves and we don’t want to feel as if we are robbed but we want to make sure that everything runs smoothly.”

The disagreement was eventually settled after the parties were given the information they needed.

Now that elections are over, it is up to political parties to fulfil their promises.

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