By ROD AMNER
A record number of candidates contested the 2021 Makana elections, including a host of feisty independent candidates.
One of them, Vuyani Nesi, convinced 40% of the Alicedale community to vote for him. He is Ward 14’s new councillor, unseating the African National Congress (ANC) from a ward they won with 68% of the vote in 2016. You can read his extraordinarily detailed manifesto below this article.
An independent candidate in Ward 12, Phetole Marius Rasekele, came a close second to sitting ANC candidate, Mzobanzi Nkwentsha. And Makana Independent New Deal (MIND) candidates ran in several wards with varying success.
But, the biggest story of the election was the performance of the Makana Citizens Front (MCF), a five-month-old civic organisation formed in June when the Eastern Cape premier refused to respond to community concerns. The MCF fielded 13 ward candidates, decimated safe ANC majorities in several parts of the city, and came close to unseating the ANC in Ward 12 and the DA in Ward 4.
The MCF has become the biggest opposition party in the district, garnering more than 18% of the popular vote and securing five proportional representation seats on the Council.
MCF management committee chair Lungile Mxube said the MCF was disappointed not to win wards, but the party was leonine about the party’s prospects in City Hall.
“If you put one lion into a council of chickens, the chickens will be terrified. The people of Makana have put five lions into Makana Council. We have a highly qualified, diverse slate of candidates.”
“As a civic organisation with a campaign less than five months old and minimal funding, we have shown what people power can do. Despite ANC dirty tricks, we almost pushed them out of office.
“We now focus our attention on bringing government to the community and calling the government to account. Our most significant promise was a different way of governing that involves the whole community, and we will demonstrate that in practice from the opposition.
MCF vice-chair Philip Machanick said the party had run a “tight campaign on minimal funding”.
“Our volunteers were unpaid, and our candidates and their supporters had to dig deep into their own pockets to cover costs. We will take the same attitude that made it possible to campaign on so little to the Council. We will watch every cent of public money and call anyone who wastes or steals to account.”
Vuyani Nesi’s winning manifesto for Ward 14:
- BASIC SERVICE DELIVERY: (a) Water and sanitation – Provide access to clean water for consumption to all – Water to be supplied to all households through the taps daily – Community to be informed in advance when there is going to be a disruption in supplying of water – Alternative arrangements be made in cases when water won’t be supplied through taps, such as water delivery truck fill up water tanks that are put in strategic areas so that residents get water at all times – Make sure that all the leaking taps & blocked drainages are fixed, to save water & prevent health risks (b) Refuse removal. – Collection of refuse material or rubbish be done at least once per week. – Provide refuse bags to all households. – Abolish all the illegal dumping sites & make sure that legal sites are cleaned at least once per month for the cleanness of the areas where we live. If there are changes in the schedule, the community will be informed in advance. Make sure that the tools of the trade like vehicles are available so that such things are attended to. (c) Electricity – Electrify or installation of electricity to all households, especially those newly built RDP houses. All informal settlement households in our ward have access to electricity. Highmoust lights & street lights are in good condition at all times to prevent criminal activities, that is to be able to identify wrongdoings in our respective areas.
- HOUSING DEVELOPMENT: Renovations of pre & post-1994 damaged houses are attended to. Identification of land to be pegged & infrastructured for building new RDP houses since it has been more than 20 years since the construction of homes took place in the ward.
- GRAVEYARDS: Alternative land should be provided for the burial of deceased persons since some of the burial places have been declared full.
- EMPLOYMENT: Provide the residents with necessary skills like construction, hospitality, entrepreneurship, farming etc., to prepare them for job opportunities. Ensure that the hiring of beneficiaries in the EPWP & CWP program is fair to all community members to benefit. Form cooperatives for people to create jobs for themselves. Embark in discussion with private companies around our areas to give our people priority when there are job opportunities ( especially in game reserves & hospitality industries)
- COMMUNITY HALLS: Renovations of both the Transriviere & KwaNonzwakazi halls are attended to since it has been a long time when they were torched by angry protesters of municipal services ( speed up the process)
- NATIONAL ROAD: Tarring of the Alicedale to Grahamstown road be made since it was said that it is the second phase to the Alicedale to Port Elizabeth route.
- ESSENTIAL SERVICES: All essential services are provided to the community at all times, like Ambulance & Fire departments. Form CPF( active) to assist SAPS in crime prevention. Labour, Social Development, Justice, Home Affairs, SASSA & other government departments visit our areas at least once per month.
- MUNICIPAL VACANCIES: Ensure that all the municipal vacancies are occupied, especially those of the deceased persons.
- SPORT & RECREATION: Sports facilities are maintained & kept in good conditions so that young people embark on activities, to avoid drug abuse and criminal activities, especially during weekends. Make sure that parks are safe for kids to play after school & security personnel are hired to guard against vandalism of the assets in the playground.