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TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Eldorado Park residents form community movement ‘after 30 years of neglect by political parties’

Eldorado Park residents form community movement ‘after 30 years of neglect by political parties’
From left: Patriotic Alliance deputy president, Kenny Kunene. (Photo: Gallo Images) | Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)

Ongoing protests in Eldorado Park, where residents claim they have been neglected by political parties, have led to the birth of the #YesEldosAgain community movement.

After deadly violence in Eldorado Park during the past few months, members of the community camped outside the Eldorado Park police station for more than 40 days in demand of justice.

Several political leaders, including ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse visited the area.

Save for its councillors, the leadership of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) has been notably absent in Eldorado Park.

“The PA was ready to leave the DA coalition months ago already due to the neglect of Eldorado Park taking place in the DA-led coalition,” the PA’s deputy president, Kenny Kunene told Daily Maverick.

However, the Gauteng DA leader, Solly Msimanga, denied this.

“This is absolutely not true,” he said. “The PA is more interested in positions and power for its own sake, and not to serve the people. When they couldn’t get the positions, they sold to the highest bidder, in this case, the ANC.”

The protests in Eldorado Park led to the birth of the #YesEldosAgain community movement, which claims to be apolitical.

The community says gun violence in the area has claimed at least 20 lives — the SAPS could not confirm the number. The community escalated their calls for safety and consolidated their camp at the police station after a double murder in Eldorado Park a month ago.

During her visit to Eldorado Park, Phalatse called for a multipronged approach to the challenges facing the area and said the City of Johannesburg could not do it alone.

Phalatse was ousted and replaced by ANC councillor Dada Morero, who visited Eldorado Park with his mayoral committee members. Morero asked for time to deal with the problems, but 25 days later he was out and Phalatse was reinstated after a court judgment.

Phalatse currently faces a vote of no confidence.

“We do believe the DA always had a vested interest in making the PA look as bad as possible in Eldos. The Speaker’s abuse of power against us in the ward committee elections was the clearest evidence of this,”  Kunene said on Monday.

He said DA Speaker Vasco da Gama was abusing his power to assist with relentless efforts to undermine the PA in Eldorado Park in the hopes of getting power back for the DA.

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“The way the ward committee elections were conducted was just the most obvious example. That was no way to treat us as coalition partners, and it was one of the reasons we decided to rather go with the ANC, because we firmly believe we will be able to deliver real life-changing services,” said Kunene.

Msimanga disputed this.

“The PA wanted Speaker Da Gama to overturn a democratically elected ward committee because the elected committee didn’t have their members — again, showing that they are more about positions than serving the people,” Msimanga said.

Kunene denied that the leadership squabbles in Eldorado Park had distracted the party from its primary goal of providing services to the community.

He said the DA-led coalition government was unstable from the start, pointing specifically to squabbles between ActionSA and the DA.

“A city manager has still not been appointed after nearly a year. We feel confident that the new coalition with the ANC will be more stable and decisive,” Kunene said.

He denied that the party’s support was dwindling. 

In the 2021 local government elections, the PA received 0.9% of the national vote, giving it 81 council seats. In Eldorado Park Ward 18, the PA won 62% of the votes and the DA 22%. In 2016, the DA won more than 80% of the votes in the ward.

Eldorado Park resident and one of the leaders of the #YesEldosAgain movement, Dereleen James, told Daily Maverick that they were no longer banking on political solutions.

“For 30 years, this community has been neglected by our political leaders. For 30 years, we have been battling the same problems and none of the political players wants to take responsibility,” said James.

Another resident, James Simon, said: “The #YesEldosAgain movement is doing a much better job than political parties in Eldos. The movement has in a short space of time conscientised our residents to the injustices in our area, something which the parties are against because they thrive on our ignorance.”

At a virtual meeting on 1 November,  a number of other “marginalised” communities decided to establish “Yes” movements. The communities are Westbury, Ennerdale, Riverlea, Bellavista, Lenasia, Eersterust, Chrisville, Nigel and the Cape Flats. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • virginia crawford says:

    All power to them! Perhaps this is an example for the country: act and force political parties to follow. MPs and councillors should have to live in the areas they represent.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

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