Register to vote to Rescue Small Town Eastern Cape

25 Oct 2023 in News

by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Today, Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, continued his tour of small town South Africa in the Enoch Mgijima and Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipalities in the Eastern Cape, where rampant corruption and maladministration have eaten away at municipal infrastructure and led to widespread service delivery collapse.

This has come to characterise much of small town Eastern Cape under the ANC.

Steenhuisen was joined by DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader, Andrew Whitfield, DA Provincial Chairperson, Yusuf Cassim, DA Enoch Mgijima Constituency Head, Jane Cowley, and DA Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Dr Vicky Knoetze.

The delegation will also be engaging with a number of civil society movements and active communities working hard to bring services to residents where the ANC government has failed.

In Lesseyton, the delegation visited communities that have been without running water for several years.

Heartbreakingly, elderly women are forced to collect water from a local stream – a water source shared by livestock which presents several risks of contamination and serious illness.

While this community faces a daily struggle to bring water into their homes, the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spent R15 million to construct a nearby sports stadium which consists of nothing more than two rusted grandstands and two soccer nets.

Money that could have brought piped drinking water into thousands of homes has disappeared into the pockets of an ANC cadre. The price South Africans continue to pay for ANC corruption is increased hardship and suffering, and another five years of ANC government will only further entrench the decay of local government across this province.

The DA has been fighting in the provincial legislature for the complete collapse of the Lesseyton water supply to be resolved since 2021.

We have called on the provincial government to intervene urgently by assisting these municipalities in terms of section 154 of the Constitution, but these calls have fallen upon deaf ears.

Small town Eastern Cape is under siege.

In response to DA parliamentary questions the Eastern Cape MEC for COGTA, Zolile Williams, recently revealed that 16 of the 39 municipalities in the province are now regarded as financially unstable.

More worringly, the MEC also confirmed that at least four municipalities are spending more than half of their total budget on employees: Intsika Yethu Local Municipality (59%), Dr AB Xuma (53%), Emalahleni (52%) and OR Tambo District Municipality (50%), while the national treasury benchmark is 35%.

The financial instability in these municipalities and the subsequent collapse of municipal services, coupled with an uncaring provincial government, have led to growing disinvestment, shrinking job opportunities, and ultimately a harder life for local people.

The result is communities left without water and electricity, without access to a job, and facing a life dependent on a social grant that can no longer purchase the basics to feed their families.

It is time for change in the Eastern Cape, and the DA has a plan to rescue this province, but voters must register to vote it in.

In 2024, South Africans will be presented for the very first time with a real alternative in the Multi-Party Charter where a majority for  a new national government is finally within reach.

In the Eastern Cape, a change in national government will mean greater assistance to rescue small towns and rescue provincial government from the clutches of the corrupt ANC.

In Lesseyton, it will mean bringing clean drinking water to communities for the very first time.

I am calling on each and every resident of the Eastern Cape to check their voter registration status by visiting to make sure that they can cast their ballot in the 2024 General Election.

The Eastern Cape is a province of unlimited beauty and potential, it just needs a caring DA government to unlock it.

Residents of the Eastern Cape must register to vote to stop the spiralling collapse of this beautiful province by fixing its small towns, growing local economies, and bringing opportunity and prosperity to all who call this province home.

Only the DA can fix the Eastern Cape, but residents must register to vote so that we can rescue this province from the clutches of corrupt ANC cadres once and for all.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at

Media Enquiries

John Steenhuisen MP

Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Charity McCord

Media Officer to the DA Federal Leader

078 126 2765