Every soccer match played at Mbombela Stadium is a "cruel reminder" of how the municipality robbed its people of their land, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Thursday.
“I am here today because I have heard about the way you were treated by your municipality,” Zille said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Mataffin village, which is part of the Mbombela local municipality in Mpumalanga.
“I have heard how the Mbombela municipality colluded with a representative of the Matsafeni Trust to steal your land so they could build a World Cup stadium.
“Your land — which is worth R12-million — was taken away from you and given to the municipality for just R1.
“The World Cup has come and gone, but you are still here, living in the informal settlement. Where are the houses and jobs you were promised? Where is the clean water, sanitation and electricity?”
Zille said the stadium was one of the best in the country.
“We all love soccer and we are so glad that we have these beautiful venues where our teams can play, but every soccer match here is a cruel reminder of what the municipality did to you,” she said.
“Why should you have to use candles when the stadium is lit with floodlights? Why should you use long-drop toilets when the stadium has flushable toilets?”
Zille said the money for Mbombela should have been used to improve the lives of the people, but instead it had “gone into the pockets of municipal officials and councillors”.
“The corruption here is so bad that people are killed for speaking out about it,” Zille said.
“Some people think that corruption is not their problem. They think it is something you must just accept, that it is a way of life.
“I am here to tell you that corruption is your problem. When politicians are corrupt, they are stealing your money. They are taking away your opportunity for a better life.”
Zille trumpeted the DA’s record in Cape Town.
She said more poor people living in DA-governed municipalities had access to more basic services than anywhere else.
“In Cape Town, households that earn less than R3 000 per month receive a 100% rates rebate, free refuse collection, 10 500 litres of free water and 50kw hours of free electricity per month.”