Azapo wants provincial governments to be scrapped

The party launched its provincial manifesto in Patensie outside Gqeberha on Saturday

22 April 2024 - 21:34 By MANDILAKHE KWABABANA
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Nelvis Qekema, Black Consciousness Movement party’s president
Nelvis Qekema, Black Consciousness Movement party’s president

Proposals to remove provincial governments and give municipalities more authority over local affairs have been made by Azapo, which launched its provincial manifesto at the weekend.

The launch was in Patensie outside Gqeberha on Saturday followed by a door-to-door campaign in Ncera outside East London the day after.

The Black Consciousness Movement party’s president, Nelvis Qekema, called for the “bloated” social wage bill to be reduced to finance local governments.

“We copy every nonsense we see happening around the world, but it hasn’t helped us.

“It has worked in Germany and the US because they can afford it.

“This country is not just over-governed, it is also misgoverned.

“About R800bn goes to provincial governments, those are salaries and blue lights, nothing else.

“We want it abolished and replaced with simple administrators in local government which is the coal face of service delivery and development,” Qekema said.

According to Stats SA, the government employee wage bill skyrocketed from R408bn  in 2013/14 to R724bn in 2023/24.

Qekema said the government’s land restitution policy had failed to alleviate poverty for previously disadvantaged people.

“We as Azapo want people to be given back their land.

“The restitution programme has failed black people because people are given money and then they still become poor.

“What we want, especially here in the Eastern Cape, is to have agricultural processing companies in rural areas so that people can have proper jobs where they stay.

“This will also be a relief to densely populated cities because people will be working where they stay.”

He also criticised the government’s R350 social relief programme for “undermining black people”.

“The restoration of the dignity of black people is the land. We will take the land and return it. 

“There’s no pride in that R350 programme, this just undermines black people.

“You get R350 and already half of it you’ve spent commuting in a taxi.

“We must also reject shacks and informal settlements, those are a crime against black people.” 

In 2022, Azapo and the PAC announced a unity pact with the intention of contesting elections together.

Both parties convened an election summit in Johannesburg to review the co-operation agreement between them to unseat the ANC government in the May 29 polls.

Qekema said the pact was still intact, however, parties would appear on the ballot separately.

He said Azapo was willing to work with any party that supported its land policy that called for land redistribution among black people.

“We still have an agreement with the PAC and we have decided that both parties must contest elections separately, but we will vote together.

“We agreed that when we are in parliament we should unite under a united front.

“Other parties like the EFF, ATM and UDM already have common interests.

“We are on the same road and we will work together when the time comes.”

Qekema said the party chose to campaign in Ncera because of the lack of basic infrastructure.

“As we speak there is no water here. It is not because their water has run out, it is because there’s no infrastructure.

“There’s no proper clinic here, there are not even ambulances.

“Within a 10km radius there must be primary and secondary health care,” Qekema said.

The party will have a door-to-door campaign on Saturday in Jozana’s Hoek, Sterkspruit, then convene a Workers’ Day rally in Mdantsane and an elections debate at the Steve Biko Centre in Qonce before its closing rally in Gqeberha.

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