Africa witness

People’s voice

ANC forgot the poor: activists

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By Hassan Isilow
The ANC centenary celebrations were nothing but a display of elite power, where the country’s middle class drove to Bloemfontein to show off their stylish wheels. This is the view of most activists I spoke to this week. Ayanda Kota, chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement, believes it was wrong for the ruling party to spend R100 million on celebrations yet thousands of South Africans are unemployed.
“R100 million was spent on celebrations – spent to entertain elites, through playing golf and drinking the most expensive whiskey. This is not a people’s celebration. We are absent!” the Grahamstown, based activist said. He added that most South Africans wished that money would have been used to build houses, create employment, and build schools for children who continue to learn under trees.
“During the struggle our leaders embodied the aspirations of the people. But once they took state power they didn’t need us any more. We were sent home. We are only called out to vote or attend rallies.” Khota stated that every year President Jacob Zuma promises to create new jobs but instead, unemployment continues to grow.
“How can a person be free with no work, no house and no hope for their life? Unemployment is sky rocketing. Most young people have never worked. Anyone can see that there is an excessive amount of poverty in South Africa. There are shacks everywhere,” the activist related. Many people I spoke to in he wake of the centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein this week shared this view.
An ANC supporter who spoke to me on condition of anonymity during the centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein said it was only officials in the ANC and those owning BEE businesses enjoying the fruits of freedom. The source said the party had seriously neglected the poor. Another ANC supporter said while she remained a committed member of the party, there was much more work for the party to do. “People are frustrated with the ANC for not fulfilling their promises. We thought we would have a better life after getting independence in 1994, but still we are trapped in poverty,” she said.
Originally Published on


Written by africawitness

January 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Xenophobia

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