Residents in Galeshewe and Roodepan townships in Kimberley have opted to elect community leaders to contest as independent candidates in the upcoming local government elections. The leaders will contest in 28 wards out of 33 wards in the Sol Plaatje Municipality.
Residents say they don’t want to vote for political parties anymore. Instead, they will be represented by community leaders from the newly formed Sol Plaatje Municipality Service Delivery Forum, which was formed this year to fight for the locals’ right to access basic services.
In Lethabo Park area, residents are forced to stay in appalling conditions with sewage dams right in front of their shacks. They say access to water and electricity is also a challenge.
“We have lots of problems here. We don’t have water and look at the toilets we use. When they come it’s only promises, promises,” says a resident.
“The whole of Roodepan water passes through my yard when it rains,” says another resident.
LGE 2021 | Residents of Northern Cape townships stand with independent candidates
One of the selected leaders who will run as independent, David Kok, says he is looking forward to resolve community issues if he is voted in. He says the decision to elect them to stand as independent candidates, was taken by the residents because they are tired of empty promises from politicians.
Political analyst, Professor Sethulego Matebese says this shows that the electorate is starting to look at various options instead of just political parties.
“If we look at provinces such as Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal which has one of the highest number of independent candidates, that could be indicative of the vibrancy of democracy of South Africa or in these particular provinces. But also one should understand that over the years with each election they’ve always been complaints, about the issue of trust in government institutions and government representatives,” says Matebese.
Residents say they have been protesting and demanding better services from the municipality but nothing has changed. They are now pinning their hopes on independent candidates for better service delivery.
LGE 2021 | An upsurge of independent candidates in Northern Cape