Youths warm to Ramphele

28 March 2013 - 03:19 By AMUKELANI CHAUKE

A group of ANC Youth League members in Alexandra, northern Johannesburg, say they will join forces with Mamphela Ramphele if she can demonstrate she will change the inhumane conditions in which they live.

Older residents - many of whom have been waiting for low-cost housing for years - say they trust her but hope she will not persuade them to vote for her only to ditch them once she is " on the gravy train".

Ramphele, leader of the Agang political platform, visited the Ratang Bana children's home in the area yesterday. During her visit, residents expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of proper housing, jobs and health facilities .

She told the residents she was in the area to listen to their views on service- delivery issues .

Simon Phoshokoe, an ANC member who said he was an ANC Youth League secretary-general in Alexandra's Stjwetla area, said the youths were "willing to listen" to Ramphele.

"We're still ANC members but we've stopped participating actively as a leadership structure.

"We have lost interest in the ANC and in politics. They (politicians) always come here before the elections to ask for our votes but don't deliver on their promises after that," he said.

Addressing residents earlier in the day, Ramphele said when the time came to vote, they should think what kind of leaders they wanted.

She said South Africa had become an "uncaring democracy" because "the rats" in power continued to be greedy and loot the public purse while people lived in poverty. She said the freedom that people had fought for had not been realised.

"There is a problem. People who are in charge of our government don't care. You must ask who represents you in parliament because you live in these bad conditions while the parliamentarians who come from here are not doing anything to make your lives better. Who are you voting for?"

Ramphele said unlike most politicians, she would keep her promises.

Daphney Louw, an unemployed and widowed mother of two, said though she trusted Ramphele, she would wait to see how different she was from other politicians.

"All these leaders speak the same language when they are starting out. But they change later once they jump onto the gravy train," she said.