Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of the African National Congress (ANC), recently voiced his concerns over the governance of Tshwane under the Democratic Alliance (DA), challenging the party’s assertion that “where the DA governs, it governs well.” During his observations, particularly in Mamelodi, Ramaphosa pointed out the significant shortcomings in service delivery.
“This is where the DA claims to govern well. However, I have not witnessed effective governance here. The residents of Tshwane, especially in Mamelodi, are facing significant challenges,” Ramaphosa stated.
The spotlight on the DA’s governance comes at a time when Tshwane, which has been under DA administration, is grappling with instability and a prolonged inability to meet the basic needs of its residents. Issues such as unstable governance and the lack of essential services have been at the forefront of residents’ complaints for more than a decade.
Voter Registration Drive in Mamelodi
In a move to galvanize support, Ramaphosa embarked on a door-to-door campaign in Mamelodi, part of a final push for voter registration ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections. Accompanied by Gauteng Provincial Chair and Premier Panyaza Lesufi and the ANC’s Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina, Ramaphosa engaged with the community, listening to their grievances and assuring them of the ANC’s commitment to addressing their issues.
This campaign provided a platform for the residents to voice their frustrations directly to the president, highlighting problems such as water and electricity shortages, uncollected trash, raw sewage in the streets, and escalating crime rates.
The Challenges of Governance
Ramaphosa was critical of the DA’s management of Tshwane, especially concerning the provision of water, a basic municipal responsibility. He emphasized the unacceptable living conditions faced by the residents due to neglected township maintenance, inadequate water supply, and the lack of essential resources.
“They are the ones who are supposed to clean the township, provide water, and resources, and just make sure that the township functions well,” he remarked on the municipality’s obligations.
Despite the grim situation, Ramaphosa pledged national intervention to tackle these issues, with Lesufi also committing to immediate action to improve the lives of Mamelodi’s residents.
Water Crisis in Hammanskraal
The community of Hammanskraal, another area within Tshwane, experienced a severe cholera outbreak in May 2023, underscoring the dire water situation exacerbated by pollution from the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. The residents’ longstanding complaints about water quality culminated in this health crisis, with many avoiding tap water due to contamination fears.
In response to the crisis, Ramaphosa announced a R4 billion investment to overhaul Hammanskraal’s water infrastructure, promising the construction of a temporary water treatment facility to ensure the provision of clean water within six months. Despite these promises, the community continues to struggle with unsafe water, highlighting the challenges of delivering on governance commitments.
The ongoing issues in Tshwane underscore the complexities of municipal governance and the critical importance of responsive and effective service delivery. The residents’ experiences reflect broader concerns over accountability and the capacity of local governments to meet their obligations, raising questions about the effectiveness of governance models and the imperative for sustainable solutions to service delivery challenges.