I can’t count the number of stories I have written about leaking drains, damaged roads and a lack of service delivery in the townships.
Queries sent to the City of Cape Town often go unanswered, and when they are responded to, we’re often told it’s too dangerous for workers to go into the townships because they are robbed at gun- or knifepoint.
Recently, however, drains have been fixed, roads repaired – and all over social media are pictures of proud City councillors showing off their good work in some of the most dangerous areas, like Marikana, Lower Crossroads and Philippi .
What has changed? Why are there suddenly no robberies or assaults on workers?
I don’t mean to be cynical, but could it be that there’s a local government election coming up on Monday November 1?
And until then, you can expect an unrelenting vying for your vote – and your soul.
The politicians have started to occupy not only our physical and digital spaces, but our minds too. They have started to psychologically work us – and top of their list of strategies is enforcing their rhetoric of a good life for all and a City that works for you.
And the rhetoric will probably work because we are a nation that forgets easily. We are a nation that is too divided in colour and opinions and that is what makes our democracy work.
Mostly we are too sympathetic of those who do not deliver if they are “our people”.
But the reality is that most locations lack basics, there’s no life or dignity. There are no jobs, but the same people who are the cause of this are now promising jobs and better lives.
Let me be the bearer of bad news: We should go and make our voices heard by voting, but we should not set ourselves up for disappointment by expecting too much from these so-called leaders.
We are currently facing load shedding but no political party wants to own up to that. Instead, they all call on you to vote for them so that they can fight it.
We’ve been promised that trains from Cape Town, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha would be working by now. Where are these trains?
As parties roll out their election campaigns there will be all sorts of pledges that will never be fulfilled. Your needs that were previously ignored will now be on the agenda.
Don’t trust too much that your vote will make a change for you and your family. But hear it from me, it will make a huge change in the lives of friends and families of those who come into power.
Friends will get jobs and tenders. The cleaning tenders, cooking for schools are there for friends and families.
I hate to point out that maybe we as voters are being fooled.
I remember one ward councillor, when approached about flooding in the informal settlements, responded only that his shack was also under water. Can you believe that this same councillor is again vying for your vote?