Defend Truth


A plethora of political parties targets dysfunctional, disappointed Hammanskraal 

A plethora of political parties targets dysfunctional, disappointed Hammanskraal 
Aerial view of Hammanskraal, on 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

In the wake of repeated service delivery disappointments from established political parties, some residents of ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba’s hometown of Hammanskraal are turning their attention to new political movements — while others regard them with suspicion. 

As election campaigning draws to a close, some residents of Hammanskraal, in the north of Gauteng, are warming up to newly established political parties as a last-ditch hope for improved service delivery after decades of disappointment.

New political parties ActionSA, Rise Mzansi, uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK), the little-known Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), and Active African Christians United Movement (AACUM) have promised to uplift Hammanskraal, one of the many towns in South Africa beset by poor service delivery and underdevelopment.

A year ago, Hammanskraal was the epicentre of a cholera outbreak in which more than 30 people died. To this day, many community members will not drink the area’s tap water for fear of contracting cholera.

The Hammanskraal water crisis has existed for more than a decade. It is caused by raw sewage from the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant flowing into a nearby river which acts as the main supplier of water in the area, contaminating the water supply to households and businesses.

Hammanskraal water

Construction is underway to rectify the water problem in Hammanskraal. 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Read more in Daily Maverick: Killer cholera hits amid decade-long bickering over Hammanskraal water crisis – and tender scandals

Hammanskraal is in a metropolitan area (Tshwane) with an official unemployment rate of 38%. However, the unemployment rate is higher when including people who have given up looking for work.

Many sections of Hammanskraal are shrouded in dust as the roads are not tarred, and where they are, potholes are common. Heaps of uncollected garbage are strewn about and sewage flows across the makeshift roads and outside people’s homes.

The area is characterised by ageing and dilapidated infrastructure, crime, poverty and the extensive abuse of nyaope (low-grade heroin mixed with other drugs). Many people in Hammanskraal have little hope that next week’s general election will usher in development and they plan to abstain from voting.

Hammanskraal resident Solomon Ngwepe

Hammanskraal resident Solomon Ngwepe erects Action SA posters on a street pole located on the side of Harry Gwala Avenue on 16 May 2024.(Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

A crowded light pole

When Daily Maverick visited Hammanskraal, Solomon Ngwepe was erecting an ActionSA poster on a light pole which already featured election posters from the ANC, DA, EFF, Rise Mzansi, F4SD and AACUM.

Ngwepe, who described himself as an ActionSA community leader in Hammanskraal, was a staunch ANC supporter throughout the years when it was banned by the apartheid regime and then when it was led in government by Nelson Mandela. Ngwepe relinquished his ANC membership during the presidency of Jacob Zuma and recently embraced ActionSA, whose leader, Herman Mashaba, hails from Hammanskraal.

“It is no longer the ANC of Mandela,” Ngwepe told Daily Maverick. “I have shifted from the ANC because I saw that there are no changes at all in the party. We have experienced apartheid. We struggled. We believed that when we got freedom in 1994, there would be changes.

“But the freedom that we got has not changed anything. We cannot even call it freedom. How can you call yourself free when there are no jobs, the quality of education is bad, there is no clean water running from taps in Hammanskraal and there are potholes on the roads?”

Based on his experiences engaging with community members of Hammanskraal and attempts to canvas votes for ActionSA, Ngwepe believes there are “a lot of people that are also switching political parties. There are new parties and something for everyone.”

Small parties

F4SD is a South African civic political movement founded in 2015 to tackle grassroots issues such as water, sanitation, housing, immigration laws, electoral reform and education.

The party registered to contest the 2016, 2019 and 2021 municipal elections in North West, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Limpopo. In 2019, it obtained just 5,320 votes (0.03%) and faces a big challenge ahead of next week’s election to convince more voters to support it.

The party, led by Mbahare Kekana, has merged with 10 small, local parties in four provinces (Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga) that plan to contest the 2024 national and provincial elections under its banner. The party believes in “80% service delivery and 20% politics”.

“F4SD is the David to Goliath in the 2024 national and provincial elections,” Kekana said. “We started with a few, who are now many, and will be many more. We have seen the fire in the eyes of our grassroots membership and as a service delivery-centred mass democratic movement, we are ready and have a plan.”

The party’s Gauteng’s premier candidate, Abel Tau said: “People are hungry and longing for someone who can represent them. Currently, they feel a lot of parties are not speaking to them but talking past them.

Abel Tau

Abel Tau, The Transformation Alliance (TTA) president and Gauteng premier candidate for the Forum 4 Service Delivery party. 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

“We have centred our campaign around engaging with people on issues that affect them and trying to come up with solutions to these issues.”

Asked whether F4SD stood any chance of success in Hammanskraal, independent election analyst Wayne Sussman was doubtful. However, he said it made sense for the party to campaign in Tshwane, where many people speak Setswana, which might provide F4SD with some success.

Another small party hoping to garner votes in Hammanskraal is the AACUM, led by advocate Moafrika Wa Maila. With a focus on infusing Christian values into governance, the AACUM says it has a transformational agenda rooted in morals and conscience.

Grassroots movements like AACUM and F4SD inject fresh perspectives and alternative solutions into the political discourse, highlighting the importance of diverse voices in shaping the future of governance.

Thami Mthethwa, Hammanskraal

Former ANC member and now uMkhonto Wesizwe member Thami Mthethwa. 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Like ActionSA’s Ngwepe, Thami Mthethwa was a staunch supporter of the ANC, which he joined in the 1980s.

However, Mthethwa left the ANC to work for the MK party and is its interim coordinator.

“If the ANC had not given the people of Hammanskraal a middle finger, there would not be so many political parties,” Mthethwa said. “Imagine the pain of not having water, not for a day or week, but … as your daily reality.”

Asked why he’d joined the MK party, which has no track record of governance or clear policies, Mthethwa responded: “Things were not this bad during Zuma’s tenure. MK in Hammanskraal is representative of ordinary people that are in touch with our situation, not these big parties who come to campaign and leave immediately after getting the votes.”

The ANC has defended its track record in Hammanskraal. Michael Ndlovu, an ANC councillor in Hammanskraal, admitted that addressing the water problems in the area had taken a long time.

He blamed government procurement processes for the delays, but said, “It is not like nothing is happening. There is a process in place and we do understand the [community’s] frustrations. As councillors, we are looking to fix the problem…What we are happy about is the fact that something is happening.”

Michael Ndlovu

ANC councillor Michael Ndlovu in Hammanskraal on 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The voice of Hammanskraal residents

For Mandela Village residents, electricity is available but is not reasonably priced — particularly for the majority who are unemployed or survive on social grants.

Elderly resident Katherine Moeng walks long distances with her wheelbarrow to collect wood that she burns for cooking, and boiling water.

“Our biggest problem here is electricity, it is too expensive,” Moeng said.

A wheelbarrow load of wood lasts between two and three days, and Moeng said she had to collect wood “whether it is raining or not”. She was still uncertain about whom to vote for: “I will decide when I see the ballot paper.”


Residents of Mandela Village in Hammanskraal Katherine Moeng (front) and Martha Baloyi (back) collect wood they use for cooking and boiling water. 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Another Mandela Village resident, Martha Baloyi, has voted for the ANC since 1994. “I cannot say I am happy with the government but they have done some things for us, like building the road, some have received RDP houses and our children go to school for free.”

Baloyi bemoaned the lack of employment opportunities for young people, the lack of access to potable water, crime, sewage running through homes, and substance abuse by young people.

“Although we are not happy, I will definitely vote, but this time I think I will change my mind [on which party to vote for].”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Promises, Promises, Promises – Hammanskraal residents despair of political solutions in killer water crisis

While some residents have seemingly pinned their hopes on the newer political parties, others regard them with suspicion.


Steve Segole owns a tuckshop in Hammanskraal. 16 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Among the latter group is Steve Segole, who has set up a corner shop in Kekana Gardens in Hammanskraal, where he sells fast foods such as bunny chows, after struggling to find a job for many years.

Segole (37) said business in Hammanskraal was slow but he made enough money from his shop to survive. He said he would vote for an established party, which he has yet to decide on.

He is suspicious of the new parties. “I’ll admit that the old parties have been disappointing in terms of service delivery, especially in Hammanskraal. Just look at how poor the roads are here. However, the new parties don’t have experience in leading and governing. But I can take a chance on parties such as ActionSA and Rise Mzansi,” he said.

His views were shared by Foster Mudau, a 28-year-old who works at a tavern in Kekana Gardens. “I don’t trust that things will change with my vote. The ANC is corrupt and steals money, but I prefer to stay with the devil I know than the one I don’t know. The new parties have not been tested. They might also turn out to be corrupt,” Mudau said. DM

Daily Maverick’s Election 2024 coverage is supported, in part, with funding from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and vehicles supplied by Ford.


Daily Maverick has closed comments on all elections articles for the next two weeks. While we do everything in our power to ensure deliberately false, misleading and hateful commentary does not get published on our site, it’s simply not possible for our small team to have sight of every comment. Given the political dynamics of the moment, we cannot risk malignant actors abusing our platform to manipulate and mislead others. We remain committed to providing you with a platform for dynamic conversation and exchange and trust that you understand our need for circumspection at this sensitive time for our country.

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


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.