In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote: “When people are deprived of the basic services without proper explanation of why this has happened or how it is being fixed, it erodes public confidence in local government.’’

Local government elections are set to take place on November 1. We are seeing political parties campaigning to win over voters, and recently launching their election manifestos. While promises of efficient and effective service delivery have been made, it remains to be seen if communities are convinced.

Though the government has made advances in creating more equality in society, service delivery remains a huge challenge for most municipalities. We have seen an increase in community protests over the years, despite countless promises made by different political leaders. According to the Incident Registration Information System, 909 protest actions took place between August 1 2020 and January 31 2021.

The local government elections are an opportunity for us to choose who we want and trust to deliver on our needs as communities, and to hold those responsible for poor service delivery accountable. Judging by the surge of local community protests, do the governing parties of the 257 municipalities deserve a second chance? Have they done enough to retain or win over new voters? For the voters, will it be a case of better the devil you know than the one you don’t?

Zamansele Machate

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