Monday, April 15, 2019

South Africa's Forgotten Townships

The governing African National Congress (ANC), which faces mounting public anger over its failure to improve the lives of millions of the poorest citizens, 25 years after the end of white minority rule.

Johannesburg township, Alexandra, has seen protests against overcrowding and poor public services in the run-up to a general election on May 8. 

Alexandra residents say a government project to develop the township, launched to much fanfare in 2001, has barely scratched the surface of what needs to be done. A model of how Alexandra was meant to look once the project was completed - with parks interspersed between neat rows of houses - now gathers dust in a children's library. High-profile politicians stop by Alexandra before elections, but residents say that, when the votes are counted, the visits dry up. Neither the DA nor the ANC could tell Reuters how much money provincial and local government had spent on the Alexandra Renewal Project.
Johanna Ditsela explained, "I normally vote, but the ANC is not doing anything for me, honestly. I need a job, and I need a house for my kids so that I can raise them in a dignified way."

The ANC is expected to win another parliamentary majority next month, but analysts say its share of the vote will probably fall from the 62 percent it received in 2014. if turnout is low, it could lose control of Johannesburg's Gauteng province.

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