Julius Malema pictured at the EFF's manifesto launch. PHOTO: Kayleen Morgan

WITH just less than three weeks before the local government elections on November 1, senior leaders of the country’s three biggest political parties hit the campaign trail on Sunday.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa led a charm offensive in eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, accompanied by provincial and regional leaders, including provincial chairperson and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala.   

Addressing members of the media on the conclusion of his party’s campaign trail on Sunday in eThekwini, Ramaphosa said the ANC has built four million houses and provided social grants to millions of South Africans, including the R350 COVID-19 relief grants.

“Only the ANC can deliver a better-run municipality,” said Ramaphosa, adding that while the party has made huge mistakes in the past, they were now more determined than ever to correct it.

Ramaphosa claimed the party leaders were uniting, rebuilding and renewing the governing party.

He said that the ANC was in the process of rebuilding, and would require candidates running for ward councillor to undergo a review process before entering office.

He said the candidates would be interviewed by a panel of about six to 12 people to ensure accountability among its elected councillors.

“We are in the process of rebuilding the ANC. We are in the process of uniting the ANC. We don’t want in-fighting among our candidates, we want unity among them,” said Ramaphosa.

“We are making the ANC better and better all the time. A resounding victory in KwaZulu-Natal will strengthen our resolve to unite and renew the ANC and work harder for the people of this province.”

DA leader John Steenhuisen was in Zamdela in the Free State where he spoke about the party’s plan to fix South Africa’s many broken municipalities.

Steenhuisen said these local government elections were about two things.

“Firstly, it’s about rescuing towns and cities from their dysfunctional ANC governments while there is still something to save, and replacing them with DA governments that get things done,” said Ramaphosa.

“And secondly, it’s about paving the way for an even bigger change, at national level, to save our country from its national ANC government.”

He said the DA has been in the driving seat in Midvaal for the past 21 years, adding that the uninterrupted period under a DA government was the sole reason Midvaal worked while everything around it fell apart.

“It is ranked among South Africa’s top 5 municipalities, and it boasts an impressive seven year run of clean audits. And thanks to this sound financial management, it is able to offer the highest access to basic services and the lowest unemployment rate in the province,” said Steenhuisen.

“It also continually attracts new businesses, as the municipalities around it shed thousands of jobs as employers shut their doors or relocate elsewhere.”

He said all the independent reports and rankings – from the Auditor General’s report and the Stats SA’s jobs numbers, to the rankings by Ratings Africa and the Quality of Life Survey – confirm that DA-run Midvaal operates in a different league to the rest of Gauteng.

“But perhaps the biggest endorsement of all is from the residents themselves,” he said.

“In 2000, the DA had 9 of the 18 seats in the Midvaal council. In every subsequent election the DA has increased its share of the vote there. What that means is that the people of Midvaal are more and more certain that they don’t want to go back to an ANC government.”

“A similar scenario played out in the City of Cape Town, where the DA narrowly won control of the metro in a seven-party coalition in 2006. By 2011 the people of Cape Town had seen enough to give the DA an outright majority, and by 2016 this majority was even further increased.”

EFF leader Julius Malema, on the other hand, visited several municipalities in the North West and promised to put an end to corruption in these municipalities in Mafikeng, Matlosana and Taung.

“When the EFF takes over municipalities, young people must be the beneficiaries. We don’t want you to be finished by drugs. Even those who do not have Matric must not be written off. There are jobs for them,” said Malema.

“On the 1st of November, you have an opportunity to remove the ANC. You have been voting for the same party time and time again. Don’t blame us for other parties’ mistakes.”

He added: “The youth of Mafikeng must lead from the front. You can’t get tired after voting once. You must vote until you get a party that creates jobs. Politics is not football; you change a party until you get the right party.”

“If this place is a capital city, it is a capital city of corruption. It is a capital city of unreliable water and electricity. It is a capital city of potholes.”

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