Why politicians flock to poor areas to wring votes

An ANC member is seen hanging laundry for a community resident during a door-to-door campaign. Picture: Reuben Kheswa (Facebook)

An ANC member is seen hanging laundry for a community resident during a door-to-door campaign. Picture: Reuben Kheswa (Facebook)

Published May 19, 2024


With the unemployment rate rising to 32.9% and the poverty line reaching q staggering at 18.2 million, poor class citizens have fallen victim to electioneering campaigns, while they enjoy the benefits of free political T-shirts and the sporadic presence of party leaders.

The season of election campaigning has seen political parties flocking in low-income households and communities, and now that D-Day (May 29) is 10 days away, three of the largest parties: ANC, IFP and the DA, have cemented themselves in these areas across parts of the country.

On Friday, DA leader John Steenhuisen and Gauteng premier candidate, Solly Msimanga, led a campaign trail in Evaton under the Emfuleni Municipality.

Residents of Evaton have continually been forced to live in harsh conditions, with inadequate road infrastructure and water contamination, which has caused sewage spillages on people’s yards and into near rivers since last year.

Steenhuisen blamed the ANC inconsistent service delivery. “Thirty years into democracy, the residents in Emfuleni Local Municipality residents are dealing with a pool of potholes, dry taps, electricity outages, poverty and empty promises,” said Steenhuisen.

In addition, on the same day, the blue party chief whip, Siviwe Gwarube, addressed a small crowd in Ekurhuleni, lamenting the extreme living costs its community and South Africans have succumbed to.

According to The Daily Sun, Ekurhuleni citizens are saying the sudden road infrastructure and fixing of the sanitation system are part of electioneering by local government.

Turning to the hotly contested KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday, IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa and party spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, led a clean-up campaign at eMathinini Transit Camp, Lamontville.

The transit camp is a result of people whose houses were washed away during the 2008 floods, and has thus far, been living in slums and bulk pollution infested areas for 16 years.

Fully dressed in his cleaning protective gear and tools, Hlabisa told The Star’s sister paper, the Daily News, that the ANC has exposed and neglected poor South Africans to grim living conditions.

Hlabisa, whose party is aiming to dethrone the ANC, maintained that an IFP government would cease to end inaccessibility to sanitation and fix housing backlog.

“We came here today because the ANC has completely turned a blind eye to the plight of millions of poor South Africans. This is not acceptable. No person shall live in a filthy place like this. But we are not shocked because everything is crumbling under the ANC-led government. People must vote for us so that we can give them better houses,” said Hlabisa.

Moreover, former deputy president David Mabuza led an ANC door-to-door campaign at eThembelihle, in Ladysmith on Friday. Followed by party national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, who conducted household visits in Thembalethu, in the Western Cape.

Mantashe pleaded with an elderly woman to vote for the ANC, and then gave her pamphlets, while Mabuza gave out party T-shirts.

The ANC’s modus operandi to wring votes follows a controversial viral video on social media earlier this month, where Mbuso Nene and other ANC members helped an elderly woman with her laundry in Vryheid.

The Star

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