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Residents pin hopes on EFF for ‘a better life’

The Red Berets won Ward 37 from the ANC, ending the ruling party’s dominance in the area

Residents of an informal settlement under the Polokwane municipality are pinning their hopes on an incoming EFF councillor to relocate them to better houses. 

The EFF won Ward 37 from the ANC, ending the ruling party’s dominance in the area. Ward 37 covers areas including Thakgalang, Blood River, Seshego Zone 3 and 6.

Some of the residents of Freedom Park informal settlement outside Seshego live in shacks with no running water and sanitation.

Madia Mokwatedi, who was doing her laundry after fetching water from a communal tap, told Sowetan that she was hopeful that the new councillor would facilitate their relocation out of the shacks which are built on the banks of Blood River.

“I have been staying here from 2002 and there is nothing that the municipality has done for us. The former councillors promised us that they would move us out of this area and that the municipality has bought a site where we are going to stay… but nothing has happened,” she said.

Mokwatedi said during rainy seasons, residents find it difficult to walk or drive in the muddy roads.

“We even carry our children on our backs to school when it rains because by the time they arrive at school all their clothes will be muddy. I trust him [EFF councillor] that he will deliver because Julius Malema will fire him [if he doesn’t],” she said.

Andries Nare also called on the government to fast-track their relocation as rainy season approaches.

“We are not going to sleep for the coming months because it’s rainy season. During the previous heavy rain my shack was washed away, lucky enough I was not around, something worse could have happened to me,” he said.

An excited Ida Maringa, said the EFF councillor would bring services to the area. “EFF and Malema started Juju Valley informal settlement and they brought water to the area. I believe that if they relocate us we will get basic services,” she said.

“It is difficult to live in this area  because I have to wake up at night and accompany children to an outside pit toilet. I can be attacked at night.”

The Red Berets also claimed Ward 26 in Mankweng, which covers University of Limpopo, Hwiti and parts of Mankweng township.

EFF provincial leader Jossey Buthane said he was happy with his party’s performance in Polokwane. “We have retained our two wards and got two new ones and that’s growth for us,” he said.

ANC Limpopo spokesperson Donald Selamolela said the party will work harder in the next election to reclaim the two wards from EFF, including the four retained by the DA. 

“We accept that we have lost and this will give us an opportunity to rectify our mistakes.” 

-Sowetan

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