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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jacob Zuma's 100 days in Ofice: What South Africans are saying

South Africa: Township reports

Striking workers

South Africans living in the townships of Port Elizabeth share their views on President Jacob Zuma's first 100 days in power.

You can read their views below:

Asanda, 24, administrator: "He has surprised me"

Lucky, 29, student: "We have a lot of cowboys"

Lenny, 57, artist: "Most of the people are not satisfied"

You can also have your say by going to Is Jacob Zuma meeting expectations? and sending us your comment.


Asanda Booi is a 24-year-old office worker from Motherwell - a middle-class township built in the 1980s. Asanda's father brought her up to believe in the ANC but since he passed away she has questioned her commitment to the party.

Asanda has been pleasantly suprised

Before the voting I was totally against (Jacob) Zuma, I must say, but now I'm really open to giving him a chance.

Since he's been in power I think he has surprised me, if I may put it that way - he has actually done more than I expected of him.

First of all, I think he is more or less modelling [himself on] our former President Nelson Mandela - his hands on approach with the people.

A few weeks ago he visited a township and he found a mayor in his home without being in the office.

I think those kinds of things - getting in touch with the people, getting the real feeling of the people - are what give me faith that he is on the right track.

My head is telling me I cannot go for a party that has Jacob Zuma as its leader, but my heart won't let me break away from it
Asanda, 24, Port Elizabeth

Even though there have been some other things that have happened - the massive strikes, violent strikes, that have happened due to lack of service delivery - I'm more optimistic definitely that Zuma is using an approach that I admire, you know, getting in touch and getting a real feeling of the things that are happening in townships, not sitting in the office and hearing from the people that are under him.

He's going there directly.

Another thing I admire about him is that he has a direct line that people can reach him on if people want to lay a complaint, maybe about a government member not performing well.


Thamsanqa 'Lucky' Gadi Siko is a 29-year-old student and entrepreneur from White Location. Named for the colour of the first housing built there, the area is part of New Brighton township. He is studying education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Thamsanqa 'Lucky' Gadi Siko
Lucky says system implementation is the problem

I've looked at the systems our government has in place in terms of what it is going to be done in the going forward for our country.

I think they are all beautiful systems or systems that we can work with.

But the problem that I have been having is [with] the implementation of these systems and the people that have been involved in implementing these systems.

For example if we talk about education... there are three ministers [in charge], one for higher education, one for high school and one for lower primary school.

If the education in our country is not going forward then I think one will blame the other, therefore there is no person to directly blame when something goes wrong.

And again, if you look at our police system, I think we have a lot of cowboys running the police department.

For example when they talk about a crime wave, I don't think it's a good thing to attack evil with evil.

My passion is to make a difference in my neighbourhood
Lucky, 29, Port Elizabeth

There [is a saying] that: "If you go an eye for an eye then the world will go blind."

Most of them, when they talk about the crime levels in our country, they say now: "If there are robbers going for our shopping malls we should shoot them dead."

I don't think that is going to be a solution for our country.

That means then we'd be raising criminals within the police system.

That means that if a child is dreaming of becoming a policeman, he might also be dreaming of shooting people instead of serving the community.


Mncedisi "Lenny" Mkhize, a 57-year-old artist and musician, lives in Joe Slovo, a semi-formal settlement which sprang up in the 1990s on Port Elizabeth's outskirts - a mix of wooden shacks and new government-funded houses. He is building his own house in the settlement as the government-built houses were of such poor quality.

Lenny lives in Joe Slovo
Lenny says some things have changed

I can say there are changes here and there.

We've got houses now, a lot of houses are being built and we have streets that are being tarred.

The other thing is I'm confident now in this current government because they get back to the people.

The first thing that [President Jacob] Zuma did for instance was to get back to the people to say thanks.

We've never had a president that comes back to the people to say thanks and he's done it.

I'm staying in a shack, I'm still building my house out of my own pocket.

Most of the people are not satisfied.

The reason [is] they moved into the houses, they thought that the houses were in good standard and they realised when they were inside that the houses were of really poor and incompetent standards.

The government has promised new houses, and to get everyone out of shacks by 2014, but I doubt it very much
Lenny, 57, Port Elizabeth

They are falling apart, and in some, the rain is coming in.

Corruption will never decrease.

I'm [one] of the victims... the incompetent builders they brought into Joe Slovo [settlement] are one of the reasons why I am very much against the current government.

I'm against what they are doing, getting incompetent builders to build houses for people and then those people just take the money and run.

The contractor who was building in my area was given a price for building more houses very quickly.

There's a lot of dissatisfaction from the people about service delivery and other stuff - most people don't even have water - houses are being built but they don't have sanitation or water in those houses, and the contractors are gone already.

So I can't say the government has lived up to what I expected currently until those houses have water and electricity as well.

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