Here’s what Diepsloot residents want their newly elected councillors to do

But lack of availability of councillors does not bode well

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Photo of Diepsloot
Diepsloot in 2007. Photo: Flickr user ign11 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Diepsloot consists of two wards, 95 and 113, and is an ANC stronghold. Councillor Matlale Mphahlele will now run ward 95, while Abraham Mabuke will handle the affairs of ward 113.

In ward 113, the ANC won 63% of the vote in the 3 August election, followed by the EFF with 27% and the DA with 7%. But in the 2011 municipal elections the ANC’s majority was much bigger, 89%, followed by the DA still with 7%. The results in ward 95 were identical, except that the DA dropped by just under one percentage point between the two elections. Turnout was low in both elections, at about 43%. (Sources: TimesLive and  IEC)

GroundUp chatted to two residents, Michael Mpofu and Michael Mkhwanazi.

Diepsloot resident Michael Mpofu. Photo: Benita Enoch

“The place needs intervention. There is too much waste flowing, and in hot weather the flies will be unbearable,” says Mpofu who has lived in Diepsloot for three years. He is adamant that conditions in the township are below par for human life. He said service delivery problems plague the area, and that as recently as last Thursday water had been cut off without warning.

“There are no roads. There is no electricity. There is no water now. We have gone to the councillor before to tell him to formalise our electricity. Even calling Eskom doesn’t help, because they just tell us straight that they are not coming,” Mpofu said.

He also criticised the number of shebeens that are open in Diepsloot: “These shebeens are open by people connected to politicians. And why are there so many of them so close to each other? Kids see that. They see their parents coming out drunk and they think it’s the way of life. No, it must stop.”

Diepsloot resident Michael Mkhwanazi. Photo: Benita Enoch

Mkhwanazi said he would first ask Councillor Mphahlele to resolve the water problems that his part of Diepsloot has been experiencing.

He said the time for loyalty to one political party has passed. “I call politics the dirty game,” he said, adding that he just wanted to see ward councillors who put residents first instead of themselves.

“Extension 1, 12 and 13 are very bad. There are no proper roads, just sand banks everywhere. And the dirt is too much.”

He asked for regular waste removal services to clean up areas to avoid the outbreak of disease.

Diepsloot currently does not have a 24-hour emergency facility to treat medical conditions. GroundUp contacted the City Of Johannesburg on 29 June and spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said plans were in place to open up a centre before the end of the year.

Despite not having essential emergency medical facilities, Mkhwanazi said there is progress in Diepsloot that makes it a better place to live than other townships in Johannesburg.

“I have lived there for six years. In that time, we have got a police station and a fire station.”

He said the police station has reduced the crime in the area and has made Diepsloot safer than it was. (Actually, the number of recorded murders per year in the township from 2011 to 2015 has been: 37, 52, 69, 65 and 59 respectively. Neither this nor any of the other crime stats we looked at supports the view that crime has dropped in the township.)

Both men did not vote in the Local Government Elections. Both said they worked on the day and they left Diepsloot at 4:30am and only returned after 7:30pm. Voting stations were open from 7am to 7pm.

In July, the Fourways Review reported that little known Mphahlele would be replacing well-known ANC councillor Rogers Makhubela. The publication said at the time that nobody in the ANC knew Mphahlele. We contacted multiple sources to get Mphahlele’s phone number, which is not in any of the government’s ward councillor lists. No one could provide it.

We called Councillor Mabuke five times from Tuesday until today to discuss his plans for the ward. At first, Mabuke said he was bathing and asked that he be called in a half hour. By then, his phone was switched off. On Thursday, Mabuke answered his phone, but claimed he did not have good cell reception and abruptly ended the call. When he was phoned again, Mabuke said he was going to a funeral and could not speak, before again cutting the call.

TOPICS:  Diepsloot Government Local Elections 2016

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