Home South African Small towns are in a real crisis, says DA

Small towns are in a real crisis, says DA


The main opposition party is launching its manifesto virtually on Saturday ahead of the November 1 local government elections.

DA Leader John Steenhuisen. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

LOCAL governments are at the coalface of the challenges people experience on a day to day basis.

This is according to DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya, who stressed the importance of realising what a local government does and what an individual is voting for.

Ngwenya joined the party’s leader, John Steenhuisen, in a virtual briefing on the DA’s readiness for the upcoming polls.

Steenhuisen said a lot of the media has focused on what happens in the metros, instead of the challenges the public faces on a daily basis.

“The real crisis that I have seen in local government has been in small towns. These are towns where municipalities only exist on paper,” he said.

“They don’t deliver services, they don’t tick any of the five objectives of local government set out in the Constitution, they no longer provide water, sewage runs down the streets, some of the mayors don’t live in the towns where they are mayors anymore, and the terrible desertion of infrastructure where the community has to step in and fix the water treatment works and sewage.”

The opposition party’s manifesto launch will take place virtually on Saturday.

The DA acknowledges that where it does govern, it wants to do better, Steenhuisen said.

“Our manifesto makes a problem statement and shows what we have done in similar situations where we govern. We are focusing on a solutions-oriented, future-focused manifesto for change in the municipalities. Even where we do govern, we want to do better.”

Ngwenya said the party had gained experience in knowing what works and what does not.

“The excellent advantage which the DA has is that we are not only an opposition party, but we are a party of government. This lends us the opportunity to do a proper evidence-based exercise to look at what has worked and what hasn’t,” she said.

“We can talk from experience when we say in order to fix a crisis this is what needs to be done.”

Political Bureau

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