He promised that development would come to Sweetwater shortly thereafter, but as the rest of the country gears up to go to the polls to make their mark, the residents of Sweetwater are asking if their vote will actually bring about change in the community.The majority of the locals here say they no longer have faith in their votes, as nothing gets done to enhance service delivery in the area.
Eighty-year-old Letia Mokoena, who has lived there for the past 22 years, said she had already lost hope of staying in an electrified house, that had running water and a flushing toilet.
“Zuma came here last year, and he spoke so nice, but did nothing.One even starts to wonder what the importance of voting is, because this area has been sidelined for far too long by the government that we voted into power,” said Mokoena.Another resident who has lived in Sweetwater for the past 11 years, Frangenie Thaele, said Zuma had failed to fulfil promises that the area would be developed.
“He (Zuma) came and made a lot of promises, but nothing has been forthcoming in the form of development. We are now just living on hope, and nothing else,” she said.David Khuswayo, who came to the area in 1986, said the government had failed to develop the area.
“You can see for yourself, the situation here is so bad, but we hope for change post the local government elections. Government promised us a lot of things, and the only power we have here is to vote, ” he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, Jefferey Msimango said residents had been voting for people who had been making empty promises.
“Our government, including our current ward councillor Freedom Sotshantsha, have failed us.
“I have to say that residents are slowly running out of patience, and just last week some were discussing the possibility of embarking on a protest action, because the situation can no longer be allowed to get worse than what it is,” he added.
Residents in Sweetwater live in appalling and deteriorating conditions. The area is still without a clinic, and residents have to walk for an hour to the nearest health facility in Finetown.Responding to the residents’ concerns, ANC spokesman Brian
Sokutu urged locals not to lose hope.
“Indeed, the President did visit Sweetwater last year, and this is a matter which certainly has to be taken up by the provincial government, as well as the ANC leadership in Gauteng. We acknowledge that there are still a lot of pockets around the country where there is glaring poverty, and Sweetwater forms part of that,” said Sokutu.
He urged residents to go and cast their vote next week, and not to lose hope, saying the ANC-led government would do everything possible to make sure their concerns were being addressed.