Elections and lack of service delivery!

Is the IEC losing its credibility, probes our columnist Maruping Phepheng, this week?

I say ‘if’ because we have thus far seen them failing quite dismally to show the courts that they are in fact ready to stage successful local government elections. This has even led to calls that perhaps the elections should be postponed for a year to repair matters.

Like SARS, at some point the IEC was seen to be an outfit without blemish. Now trappings of slip- ups, of bewilderment even, seem to overwhelm the election machine.

But let me not go off at a tangent. This, 2016, being an election year the focus will quite inescapably be on that movement of respected icons like Tambo and Sisulu and Mandela, the African National Congress.

When you think of it, there was a time not so long ago when all the ANC needed to do was to shout Mandela’s name and everyone – OK, at least most Blacks, would vote for them without a question.

That time died with the struggle icon. Things are different, harder now … there is Zuma, his palace and his Gupta pals, there is that headache called the EFF, and among others there is that small matter of a lot of voters being younger, vocal and generally difficult.

Instead of shouting Mandela, the ANC must now show the electorate what they have done with the power they have had for two long decades.

Basically, to those living in darkness the ANC must point to the working street lights they have erected, not to the reasons why those who have for years been promised lights are today still staying in the dark.

To those who for years and years have been waiting for houses, the ANC must show where those promised houses are, and a little less of why they have not been built yet. While at it, they must show a list of councillors and officials who are in jail today because they corruptly sold RDP houses to community members.

On top of showing how they plan to improve the employment situation of the locals, the ANC must show how many jobs they have created over the years. They must demonstrate action taken to permeate economic development and empowerment through communities.

Many people have lost their lives because potholes remain death traps for far too long. Easy … the ANC must simply show where they have built roads, and, most importantly, show how successful they have been in maintaining them.

With Eskom aiming to switch off the lights in many municipalities across the county, the ANC will have to assure voters that they will keep the lights on. They will have to say where they will get the billions to pay the parastatal. They will have to explain why there aren’t effective but also pro-poor mechanisms in place already to collect revenue for electricity, water, and so forth.

This should quite frankly be an easy task, but it is made preposterously difficult by the ANC’s weightiest weakness: its spectacularly incompetent assemblage of cadres deployed in government, especially in municipalities.

We read storiesdaily about officials and councillors who are so corrupt and incompetent that one would be excused to accept that the ANC is in fact engineering its own collapse by insisting on cadre deployment that mainly concerns itself with corruption, with service delivery ranking last on its long list of self-serving priorities.

The above are among the simplest of things that, if achieved, will make the ANC win elections forever. These are the simple things that will make the ANC win the hearts of many.

But can the ANC say they got it right?

Well, don’t ask me. Stop any of the leaders of protesting communities and ask them. The answer is likely to be a resounding NO.

To be specific, I’d say ask Andries Tatane of Ficksburg in the Free State but he will not reply because, well, he is no more.

His biography says he was a mathematics teacher, a community activist, journalist, and community newspaper publisher.

The cops shot him dead because he was brave enough to stand up and demand service delivery, stuff that the government led by the ANC should have quite readily provided.

Ed. Maruping is an independent commentator. These are his views. Visit social platforms for his works!

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