Today, Friday, 18 June 2021, the Democratic Alliance (DA) will be convening an urgent virtual meeting to address the ongoing and violent service delivery protest action holding the people of Makhanda to ransom. The meeting will start at 18:00 and will be broadcast live on the DA Makana Facebook page.
The latest protest action in Makhanda is indicative of a community that has lost all faith in the ANC-led Makana Municipality resolving its problems. Many of the issues raised by residents are long-standing: roads that are falling apart, a dysfunctional water supply, near non-existent waste management and municipal finances that are in complete disarray.
During the last Makhanda protest action, members of the Eastern Cape provincial executive committed to addressing these challenges and reporting back to the community.
Last year the Makhanda High Court ordered that the Makana Council must be dissolved, but this never happened. It is clear that the ANC at both a local and provincial level does not take these issues seriously. It is time for national government to intervene to dissolve the Makana Council.
The DA is also on record calling for the suspension of the municipal manager, pending an investigation into his mismanagement of the municipality. We have laid criminal charges against the municipal manager and the mayor for their failure to resolve the landfill problem, as ordered by the court. And yet, at every opportunity, the ANC in council and in the provincial legislature have defended their cadres, regardless of the impact of their actions (or lack thereof) on local residents.
We will, therefore, collate all input from tonight’s urgent meeting and deliver a memorandum to the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) calling on her to intervene.
In the short term, the only solution that will satisfy the protestors is for Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane to get in his luxury, state-provided vehicle, drive the hour and a half to Makhanda and address the residents about what his government is doing to sort out the problems.
The leaders of this protest need to publicly step up and call their followers into line: it can never be acceptable to damage public infrastructure or disrupt the lives and livelihoods of others.
A longer-term solution is to change our municipal government and vote for a party that has a demonstrated track record of good governance and delivering basic services to all. The only party that gets things done is the DA. Makana cannot afford another five years of ANC misrule.