Tsek! Soweto residents with no power give Ramaphosa a hostile reception

18 September 2021 - 12:37
By Amanda Khoza
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa in Soweto on the local government elections campaign trail on September 18 2021.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa in Soweto on the local government elections campaign trail on September 18 2021.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and his party were shown the middle finger on Saturday by angry residents of Soweto's Nomzamo township, who said they feel the party only cares when it's time for elections.

While Ramaphosa was inside a home speaking to residents, outside Phangelani Msinyana said: “The ANC can keep its electricity, we don't want it any more.

“Where was the ANC in the past three years when we didn't have electricity? All of these police that are here, where were they when members of the community were getting killed? Where were they? They must f*** off man!”

Msinyana said the ANC used to work for the people but this was no longer the case. “They helped us a long time ago. They helped our mothers who were being beaten by the apartheid police,” he said.

“Today you come here because you want our votes. We are not going to vote for you.”

Another resident, Ntombi Meji, said she was surprised by Ramaphosa's visit. “Why did he surprise us? We are not happy at all. We want electricity, we cannot do anything without electricity. Our children study under a candle light and they cannot watch TV.”

Another resident, Siyamthanda Mkhontwana, said: “I am a staunch ANC member but I am not going to vote for the ANC. They are failing us as their supporters. We are tired, we are not going to vote.”

Responding to the community, Ramaphosa said electricity would be “priority number one” as a result of his visit.

“We told Eskom to solve the electricity issue urgently. Next week they will send a contractor. I want them to get on it next Tuesday. I told them that I want a report that will be sent to the premier and the mayor.”

If he did not receive the report, he would return to brief the community, he said. “Do you promise that you will look after the electricity? Please do not lose hope, I will personally supervise that they solve this issue.”

Ramaphosa said he would also ask police to investigate complaints about gunmen roaming the streets. “Please do not lose hope, we are not only here because it's the elections. We want to remind you to go and register today and tomorrow.

“If you do not vote, all of the issues you have raised will not be addressed because another party will be in charge and they will not address your concerns.”

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the community's concerns were valid. “The people here are still behind the ANC and we accept that sometimes when we go to communities they will raise difficult questions,” he said.

“They will say, 'you have not checked on us in a while and you are coming here when it's the elections', [but] these are men and women who love the ANC.”

Mabe said it was clear electricity was the biggest issue for Nomzamo voters, and there were plans to move responsibility for resolving the problem from Eskom to City Power.