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As ANC’s January 8 celebrations go virtual, interaction with citizens falters

The governing party cancelled its Limpopo celebrations due to rising COVID- 19 cases.

A screengrab of ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering a virtual briefing following a three-day NEC meeting.

SELETENG, GA-MPHAHLELE - President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday, for the first time in democratic South Africa, virtually deliver the African National Congress’s (ANC) January 8 statement.

The governing party cancelled its Limpopo celebrations due to rising COVID- 19 cases, but the move has robbed many Limpopo residents of the opportunity to cry out over their desperate conditions.

The ANC’s birthday celebrations are usually accompanied by the party’s leadership interacting with ordinary people.

Eyewitness News spent time in Ga-Mphahlele and surrounding villages to hear what residents would have told Ramaphosa and the ANC’s top brass had they made it to Limpopo.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa expected to address factional battles with ANC in Jan 8 statement

Grazing cows and goats beneath the picturesque green fields and mountains at Lepelle-Nkumpi Local Municipality would have been the first sight that greeted the politicians who otherwise only frequented the area for electioneering.

Beneath the hills, unemployed youths roam the gravel roads of their villages - moving from one local store to another seeking some form of entertainment to kill time.

Among them is 30-year-old Petunia Shogole who was not even aware that her home village would have hosted the January 8 celebrations.

She has long stopped consuming mass media because, what was the point, she asked.

However, she said this is what she would have told the president: “We need tarred roads - the problem with the gravel roads is that after it has rained, we become confined to our homes (because) you can’t pass through the mud that forms here.”

Another resident, 34-year-old Rosa Maijane, said they were still forced to fetch water for all household use from a nearby river, which has proven to be a health hazard.

“Sometimes after fetching the water, I’ll walk upstream on the way home and find pills and Pampers dumped in another part of the river, but what can we do?”

During his January 8 address last year, President Ramaphosa committed the ANC to building a capable state that served all people, but for the residents in this village, that day is yet to come.

The ANC on Thursday said Ramaphosa would deliver the January 8 Statement on Friday at 7pm.

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