Ndlambe FM radio’s round table discussions, which have seen a random political party hosted on the air on Fridays, culminated in an intense programme recently when station manager Dodo Shuping simultaneously hosted four political parties to debate each other and answer questions from listeners.
The discussion included ANC councillor Andile Marasi, DA councillor Sikhumbuzo Venene, Leon Coetzee of the ACDP, and EFF councillor Xolisa Runeli.
Each political was given ten minutes to tell Ndlambe residents why they should vote for it in the local government elections next year.
However, all the political leaders in the studio took the opportunity to throw jabs at each other, with the intention of revealing each other’s weaknesses. Starting the discussion was Coetzee who advocated for united godly governance. Coetzee used scriptures to support his view of unity.
“The Bible says where there is unity, God commands a blessing,” Coetzee said.
He is of the view that politics should not be about party politics. He said party politics divided people like football fans who would support their teams for whatever reason.
Coetzee went on to state that South Africa is going nowhere without godly a government observing godly values. “We need to submit our whole lives to God and observe all his commandments. It is good calling in the name of God, but our daily lives should display that. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death,” he said, citing Proverbs 16:25.
Coetzee condemned the burning of property and tyres as a way of expressing dissatisfaction for the lack of service. He went on to express his disappointment about corruption associated with the ruling party.
EFF Councillor Xolisa Runeli spoke fondly of the EFF which he described as a growing party representing marginalised people. “This is a party that has realised that the ANC has turned away from its original objectives which led to its formation. The ANC was formed to restore the land, which was forcefully taken by Leon’s forefathers. They took land and cattle and wealth of black people,” he said.
Runeli claimed that the EFF has represented retail workers locally exceptional well. He further added that their love and fight for the poor had led to them being jailed. “We fought this municipality which was paying black people R100 even though this municipality continues with that,” he said.
Runeli added that the EFF had woken up the Ndlambe council which was sleeping. He said that other councillors’ input was only limited to prayer and voting on items on the agenda. Runeli described the ANC and the DA as useless parties, saying that Ndlambe residents should reject them both. He said they supported each other in the council.
However DA councillor Sikhumbuzo Venene immediately challenged these claims, saying Runeli was good at misleading the public. “To be in politics is quite interesting when you have youngsters like Runeli. If I were to give an award in terms of misleading the community, councillor Runeli would be number one uncontested. I would give Runeli a platinum [award] because I do not think he deserves gold,” Venene said.
Venene said the DA was not in government except in the Western Cape. According to Venene, the DA in the council only vote with the ANC on issues of service delivery. He asserted that they were not there for themselves but for the people of Ndlambe.
“We are not there for the sake of opposing. Yes, we are there to make sure that we do our oversight role as councillors. When the ANC is mischievous we take them on,” he said.
He said the time was ripe for the people of Ndlambe to vote for the DA. He said DA’s values and principles are based on freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.
“There is high rate of unemployment. If you give us an opportunity to lead this municipality we can reduce unemployment. We say one household, one job,” he said.
In response to statements made by the others, ANC Ndlambe chief whip Andile Marasi said: “I am not here to respond to any allegation of any political party. I am sent by the ANC to come and make an input.”
Marasi said he would “educate” Runeli. Although he said he would not respond to the claims made, he said there was nothing wrong with opposition agreeing with the ruling party on important issues.
“Opposition parties are there to oppose, but not at all times. The ANC is the mass movement and we will listen to the will of the people,” he said.
Marasi further said the ANC was self-explanatory.