Residents of dysfunctional Ditsobotla hoping for the best
Filth, potholes and lack of water mark municipality's problems
Despite an almost two-hour delay to the start of voting at Thabo Mpempe Primary School, dozens of residents in the dysfunctional Ditsobotla local municipality in Lichtenburg, North West, were in high spirits.
Residents of Boikhutso started arriving at the voting station as early as 6.30am, some dressed in political party regalia.
Zachariah Makinye, 61, of Boikhutso Ext 3, said: “I arrived here at 7am. I am happy that I am voting. I believe my vote will benefit all of us in the community of ward 3. After my vote, I believe the conditions in my area will change.”
Another Ext 3 resident, Lazarus Monnatlala, 66, said he wants his vote to urge the government to provide better services for him and his family.
“I don’t have water at home. I struggle to get water. The roads here are difficult to travel on. There are potholes everywhere. I want our government to help us,” said Monnatlala.
The voting station had not opened by 8.30am due to complaints by political party agents about the IEC presiding officer at the station.
After talks of almost 30 minutes between police, party agents and the presiding officer, with voters looking on, an agreement was reached that the presiding officer should not preside over the election, which was received with joy by voters.
The most touching scene was when 69-year-old Maria Malakaje, whose right leg has been amputated, was carried by two IEC officials as she cast her vote.
It's not clear if she didn't know about the special vote at the weekend for disabled people, or whether IEC officials did not pitch at her home.
Another resident, Elliot Mazwembe, 26, said he was voting so that jobs are created for young people like him.
“We are really struggling, my brother. We hustle every day. We need jobs. The government should provide jobs for us so that we can earn a living,” said Mazwembe.
Meanwhile, at Ditsobotla Primary voting station located in ward 1, the situation was quiet as there were no queues at all and a few people were trickling in.
First time voter Lebogang Dielele, 19, of Extension 2, said she was overcome with joy.
“When I woke up today, my heart told me to go and vote. I am tired of seeing garbage all over the streets,” said Dielele.
The Ditsobotla municipality has been rocked by ANC factional battles, which led to the collapse of service delivery and saw the appointment of 12 municipal managers, two administrators and two mayors in just five years.
The instability in the administration of the municipality has led to poor service delivery with many residents of Lichtenburg, where the municipality sits, living without water, while there were constant power cuts and heaps of uncollected refuse at almost every corner.
The roads are in a state of disrepair, with potholes everywhere, while some roads that were once tarred have deteriorated into gravel due to a lack of maintenance.
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