Thursday, May 19, 2011

Zuma's ancestor threat ignored


The Democratic Alliance has made inroads in an area where President Jacob Zuma warned that people who turned their backs on the ANC would have to explain themselves to their ancestors when they died.

The DA increased its number of seats in Tswaing, in North West from one in the 2006 local government elections, to seven in 2011.

The party said its improved performance could be attributed to it winning two black wards there - including Vrischgewagt township near Delareyville.

Earlier this month, Zuma visited Vrischgewacht where he reportedly said that people who turned their backs on the ANC would have to face bad luck and explain themselves to their ancestors when they died.

"It's like history that's happened here. A complete village changed to the DA," newly elected DA councillor Carin Visser said on Thursday evening.

Visser was head of the Sannieshof Inwoners Belastingbetalers Unie (SIBU), a ratepayers association, which took over control of basic services such as disposal of sewage and waste removal in 2008, claiming the town council was incapable.

Instead of paying rates to the ANC-led Tswaing municipality, residents place the funds into a SBIU fund, and the SBIU provides some of the services.

"It's been six years that I've been working here to resolve problems," Visser said.

"It made an impression on the black people. It became known to them that I was a woman who solved problems."

'We give you Vrischgewacht'

Earlier this year, community members from Vrischgewacht, an ANC stronghold of almost 4 000 voters, approached her.

"We don't ask you, we give you Vrischgewacht," she said they told her.

"The whole village decided they wanted to turn it around," Visser said they started with basics like refuse removal.

She said this all happened a day before the Independent Electoral Commission finalised its candidates' lists, so there was no time to add the village's councillor to the list.

She did not have any DA T-shirts left for the village as she had already "painted Tswaing blue".

Instead they decided to do as the Blue Bulls did, and used oxide to paint the whole village blue, from windmills, to fences, to walls and even trees, Visser said.

It was during this time that Zuma paid a visit.

Visser said when the community was told they could not ask Zuma any questions, they pulled off their outer layers to reveal blue t-shirts underneath.

Under administration

The Tswaing local municipality, which includes Delareyville, Ottosdal, Sannieshof, was placed under administration in mid-2010 in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution.

It has been an ANC stronghold since 1994, and in the 2006 elections, the ruling party received 78% of the votes and the DA 6%.

In 2011, the ANC is projected to get 85% while the DA has risen to about 11%.

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