Midvaal returns Verwoerd bust to owners - Lindiwe Mazibuko

DA says ANC fuss a transparent effort to shift focus away from real issues of election

The ANC cares more about Verwoerd bust than it does about service delivery

A bust of Hendrik Verwoerd located on municipal property in Midvaal has been removed and returned to its owners, the Klipriver Vallei Kultuurraad, which is a local cultural organisation. The removal of the bust was done in consultation and with the agreement of the organisation.

The bust - which has gone unnoticed in Meyerton for the past 30 years - has recently generated a great deal of manufactured hysteria on the part of the ANC, unlike the many Verwoerd roads, parks, schools, and nature reserves that dot ANC-run councils across South Africa. This comes as no surprise to the Democratic Alliance (DA). The ANC's sudden interest in the bust is transparently an attempt to shift attention off the issues that really matter in this election: delivering services to the people of South Africa, especially the poor.

The truth is that this election is not about a bust of Hendrik Verwoerd, who has rightly been consigned to history. This election is about the future of the people of South Africa, many of whom depend on local governments to provide the services that make life bearable.

It is about the people of Stinkwater in Hammanskraal who have no electricity or council-supplied water, and whose borehole water is contaminated by nearby pit latrines.

It is about Charmaine Poggenpoel in Calvinia, who needs an urgent life-saving operation but whose municipality is unwilling to assist with getting her to a major hospital.

It is about the people of Ikageng whose children are left to play on growing heaps of rotting rubbish and refuse left there by the ANC council.

It is about the community of Mbombele in Mpumalanga, who were moved off their land in order to build a stadium and were paid R1 each in return.

It is about the people of Ikwezi in KwaZulu-Natal, 62% of whom do not have access to basic sanitation.

It is about the 10 000 people of Seshego who are serviced by two taps, and the people of Witbank where there has been no running water for 45 days.

The DA has and will continue to run a serious election campaign based on real issues, because South Africa deserves a serious debate about how best to improve the lives of people who are destitute and at the mercy of failing local governments.

We invite all South Africans, including the ANC, other political parties, the media and civil society to join us in this debate.

On the 19th of May, what will matter is not who scored points in a political mud fight. What will matter is whether the people of South Africa can look forward to better service delivery for the next five years.

The welfare and aspirations of the South African people are at stake in this election. Let us all give them the respect they deserve as we campaign over the next 12 days.

Statement issued by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, DA National Spokesperson, May 5 2011

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