Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Zille invites Zuma to smell stench of corruption

The fruits of BEE and the ANC's crony system of governance.

The DA leader says that in Matjhabeng municipality a rotten tender has led to sewage flowing down the streets

I challenge Zuma to come to Matjhabeng and face the people

Today I visited Odendaalsrus and Welkom in the ANC-run Matjhabeng Municipality in the Free State where a river of raw sewage flows through the streets. The stench is unbearable and people are getting sick. The town is becoming unfit for human habitation.

The state of affairs in Odendaalsrus and in Welkom, like in most towns where people receive no service delivery, is wholly avoidable. In fact, it is a direct result of the ANC's programme of crony enrichment and corruption.

In early 2008, the council's sewage treatment plant totally collapsed after years of neglect. Instead of appointing a competent contractor who could do the necessary repair work, the council awarded the R8 million tender to an ungraded contractor in a crony deal. He had neither the expertise nor the necessary equipment to do the job. Two months later the contractor disappeared with R2 million already paid to him.

Jacob Zuma has made lots of noise recently about holding public representatives to account and getting tough on corruption. This is of course laughable considering the 783 counts of bribery he stands accused of.

But let us suspend disbelief for a moment and give Zuma the benefit of the doubt. If Zuma is serious about ushering in a new era of accountability and toughness on corruption, then he should come to Odendaalsrus and Welkom and face the people who live in these conditions. He must explain to them why they are forced to live in this way. He should speak to the ANC mayor and ward councilors and hold them to account for the sewage that runs through the streets.

This is my challenge for Zuma. If he really has the interests of the people of South Africa at heart, he will come to Matjhabeng to see the effects of the closed, crony system for himself.

The truth is that Zuma doesn't care about the people of South Africa.

His priority is to avoid facing his corruption trial and to ensure that his cronies, like Schabir Shaik, are looked after.

Welkom and Odendaalsrus are not anomalies. I have visited dozens of towns like these all over the country in the last few months. Each one is proof that corruption makes poor people poorer. The only way to turn the situation around is to replace the closed, crony system of the ANC's with the open, opportunity society offered by the DA.

This is how we govern in Cape Town where we are winning the fight against crime, corruption and poverty. Life is getting better for everybody, step-by-step. This is what the DA offers to the people of South Africa: An approach to government in which all the people benefit, not just the inner clique of the ruling party.

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