Under the power of African National Congress members, the Makana Municipality of Grahamstown has gone through tremendous challenges with regards to fulfilling its responsibilities towards the people of the town and the town itself. This recently caused the Democratic Alliance (DA) to challenge the processes and decisions made by the municipality. The controversy between the political parties evoked underlying tension within the people of Grahamstown with regards to poor service delivery, poverty and crime.
Luvuyo Ellman Gqosana has been a community member of Grahamstown for all of his life and he shared his knowledge, experience and thoughts on the topic when interviewed. He believes that the Makana Municipality is “simply a disaster“, basing his argument on the Municipality’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities. Referring to the current state of infrastructure, the increasing crime and unemployment rate and poverty in Grahamstown. Considering the corruption that members are accused of and the belief that most of the members are not compatible for their positions in the municipality, he foresees no change in the immediate future. He revealed that the community claims the current mayor and the one prior were/are involved in a relationship, the mayor prior was not able to improve the state of the town, which is reason as to why community members have no faith in the new mayor to bring about change either.
Gqosana is aware of the controversy between the DA and the ANC with regards to which members are part of the municipality, “there is need for change and the DA has the potential to bring that change if given power through the Municipality structures” he said. However, “many fear racial issues arising and becoming a problem because the DA is dominated and essentially controlled by white individuals” he added.
On the contrary to the above statement. Fadzayi and Farai Chikurunhe, who are international students at Rhodes University and members of the community of Grahamstown, believe that the town needs to prioritize recruiting compatible individuals into the municipality regardless of their race. The students claim they are aware of the poor job performance by members of the municipality but they were not aware of the changes in the municipality and the interference of the DA. When made aware of this, Farai said that “I support the actions taken by the DA because members of the ANC have been in charge for a long time but they haven’t been fulfilling their responsibilities”. Fadzayi added, “The responsibilities they have to provide people with services like water and sanitation, to eradicate unemployment and work with the police services to eliminate crime. I think it’s time for change.”
The students had no knowledge of the proceedings with regards to Makana Municipality. They also feel they do not have power to influence the actions taken by the Municipality and therefore they do not engage but as community members they are also affected by the lacking competency of Makana Municipality members.
Some have given up on the fading town of Grahamstown, however some are way too eager to give up without a fight. The community of Grahamstown and the town itself has survived many struggles in the past and so its community believes it will survive the struggles brought by its own Municipality.