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Old faithful stay true in ANC heartland Voters braved a cold day, many arriving at polling stations hours early By Andrew Walker BBC News, Soweto A stone's throw from Nelson Mandela's old house in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, there is no question about who will win South Africa's national and provincial elections. This is the heart of the heartland of the African National Congress (ANC). But still, Godfrey Montombaha got up at 0400 to make sure he was first in line. The 32-year-old metalworker says the newly formed Congress of the People (Cope) party does not pose a threat to the ANC. "I know where I come from and where all these people come from. We will never forget what the ANC has done for us." No Cope In fact, Cope did not even send any party agents to the polling stations the BBC visited in the Soweto district of Orlando West. In the minutes before the polling station opened, the line was mostly older and middle-aged people, wrapped in blankets and shifting from foot to foot to ward off the morning chills. Fifteen years is a very minimal time to do a lot or to satisfy everyone. If [the ANC] will have another 15 years then maybe we will see something more Joseph Lethoko Workman In the end it was Ruth Ntombana, 56, who cast her vote first in Orlando West High school. She was instantly surrounded by journalists all trying to find out who she voted for, but she fended them off. "It's my secret," she giggled. Polling went smoothly here. People entered the station, quietly taking their ballots and disappearing behind the cardboard screens. Someone noticed the newspapers covering the windows by the polling booths had an ANC advert on them - the face of its leader Jacob Zuma, set to be the country's next president, peering over their shoulder. It is illegal to have political adverts in polling stations so the paper was quickly removed. Double pay Outside the polling station, workmen were hard at work laying a new pavement despite the public holiday. "We are going to get double-pay today, so we wanted to work," said 40 year old Joseph Lethoko. "I've not been working for some time, and I have to make use of the opportunity," said Nathe Sibeko, 42. What has the ANC done for people like him? So excited I could not sleep Buhle, on the left, with his brother Mbongeni "Fifteen years is a very minimal time to do a lot or to satisfy everyone. If they will have another 15 years then maybe we will see something more." He said he will go and vote after he knocks off at 1400. Then he will go and relax with his family. What does he hope the future holds for his three children? "I have wishes not hopes," he says, for a stable country and a better economy. "Hope is something you envisage, a wish is something you can work towards making fundamental." Machine gun When asked how he voted, 21-year old Mbongeni Sibeko made a motion like a machine gun firing. He means Jacob Zuma, who has become famous for singing the Zulu language liberation anthem "Mshini Wami" (Bring me my machine gun). "I'm happy with the ANC so far, life is smooth for us because of the ANC," says the student at Johannesburg University. It is the first time he and his 19-year-old brother Buhle are voting. "I'm so excited," said Buhle. "I couldn't sleep." "The opposition are just trying to complicate things. I don't understand why they're trying to separate." Buhle says he is going to use the rest of the day to go out and encourage his friends to vote too. Lone opposition The BBC did find one person who did not vote for the ANC in Orlando West. Mancoba Qubeka, 58, is a former freedom fighter, who got military training in Tanzania as part of the Azanian People's Liberation Army, when it was fighting white minority rule. The former journalist voted for the Pan Africanist Congress. "The PAC is still there, but it's organisationally weak." The party that was formed as a more radical movement against apartheid has been all but swept away by the ANC. Elderly voters like Xorilela have been taking their place at the polling booths "This South Africa is not what I imagined as a young man," he said. "The ANC has done dismally on a key issue of land reform. The former ruling class still own the land and South Africans in rural areas are still suffering." At a polling station in Sisulu Street, next to the former home of Walter Sisulu, the BBC met 74-year-old Xorilela Makakwa. The ANC has been bussing in elderly and infirm people to make sure they vote, but she and her friend did not take the offer of a lift. "We need our exercise!" she said. "I have no problem with the policies the government has, I have a problem with the people the government has deployed to do it." She says that the ANC should have done more for the youth. "We have young people here that are loitering with nothing to do, and they just end up making more babies who will also be jobless." 'One house, one vote' for South Africans By Andrew Walker BBC News, South Africa The government says it has built millions of houses in the last 15 years Down by the banks of the Jukskei river which winds its way through Alexandra, Johannesburg's oldest township, there is deep and growing anger. The tin shacks of the Setjwetla "informal settlement" have been there for nearly 25 years, and residents say they are being ignored by the South African government, passed over in favor of outsiders. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is building new houses a few yards away, but the residents of Setjwetla suspect they will not benefit. At the beginning of April, with elections looming, several hundred decided that enough was enough. They walked up the hill, past a poster that declares "Alexandra, home of the ANC," and occupied the new buildings and demanded they be allowed to stay there. The police were called and evicted them. Clashes ensued and several were injured including a pregnant woman who was run over by a police car. Houses for votes "The ANC want us to vote for them in this election. I cannot. We say: 'One house, one vote'," says Freda Dlamini, known to friends and family by her married name, Mamtolo "the arrow". They say they are building houses, but we don't know who is getting them Freda Dlamini "Until they give us a house, I won't vote for them." Ms Dlamini has been living in Alexandra since 1993, when she came to Johannesburg from Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape province. She worked as a domestic cleaner, and can remember the joy of voting for Nelson Mandela in 1994. But since then, housing has been a struggle. If they want electricity, they have to hook themselves up to the grid that feeds other parts of Alexandra. If they want water, they have to break into water mains. "They say they are building houses, but we don't know who is getting them," she says. Last year residents violently evicted Zimbabwean and Mozambican immigrants living in Alexandra. There is a general feeling that the housing authorities are not going to give new houses to residents already living in shacks in Alexandra. "I don't see any future any more, we have been betrayed by our own government. They promise every time, but they don't do anything about the promises." Poorest of the poor The government has built 2.8 million homes in the last 15 years, it says. The housing department says 1.1 million South African families still live in slums but that this is an improvement on the situation in 1994. Voters in South Africa give their views on the most competitive elections since the end of apartheid But the number of households needing housing is growing by 200,000 a year, according to the Development Action Group, a housing advocacy organisation. Anthea Houston of the DAG says that since 2003, the number of households needing housing has grown by 2.4 million - meaning the government must double its rate of house-building. The government has also made a commitment to providing free "basic water" to all South Africans. According to the Department of Water and Forestry, 86% of all households in South Africa have some form of water provision, even if it is a stand pipe up to 200m away. But the remaining 14% indicates an enduring problem, according to the Development Bank of South Africa. The DBSA produce an annual "infrastructure barometer" that assesses South Africa's service provision. GIMME SHELTER 248,850 homes built in 2007 2.8m homes built since 1994 200,000 more houses needed per year 2.4 million more since 2003 Source: Government, DAG They say there is a percentage of very poor people which the government has hardly touched, and this group is expanding. The municipal housing departments lack the capacity to do their jobs, and political appointees at the head of key departments have failed to rectify the problem, says Mrs Houston. "They see it as a housing problem, but there's a bigger context of urbanisation that they're not dealing with." The government should concentrate on "regularising" informal settlements, giving them services when they spring up, rather than concentrating on one settlement at a time and moving them into permanent homes. "It seems the problem of housing is accelerating," she says. 'Living with rats' Back in Setjwetla, Johannes Matsetela is sitting on a box, playing cards with a friend. "They tell us that this squatter camp is not on the map," he says. He came here in 1987 from another township in Johannesburg. He built his own house from damaged bricks from a children's creche being built nearby. It is a small two-roomed shack where he and his wife have brought up nine children. "We are living with rats, everyone has big rats in their place, they are eating with us," he said. Johannes Matsetela built his home in Alexandra 22 years ago "If you don't give them a plate of food, they're going to bite the kids." Mrs Dlamini and Mr Matsetela say they will not vote for the ANC in protest at the way they say they are being ignored. But neither could bring themselves to vote for anyone else. They just want the ANC to appoint a local official who will take their plight seriously. Can Jacob Zuma rein in his spies? By Farouk Chothia BBC News To live up to the humble image South Africa's new President Jacob Zuma created at his inauguration by kneeling before the nation's founding father, Nelson Mandela, he will have to end the abuse of power seen during the rule of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki. And this will not happen without Mr Zuma reining in the security and intelligence services, whose influence grew to a worrying level during Mr Mbeki's presidency of nearly 10 years. Because the ANC is so dominant (in South Africa), it sends the message to people that if they want power, they can gain it through intrigue Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi With Mr Mbeki believing, according to his unofficial biographer Mark Gevisser, that power is "gained and ceded through conspiracy", they played a central role in shaping the presidential battle. Operatives in the now-disbanded organized crime-fighting unit, the Scorpions, advanced Mr Mbeki's cause, while their rivals in the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS), promoted Mr Zuma. In the end, they helped Mr Zuma take the oath of office, in front of Chief Justice Pius Langa, without corruption charges hanging over his head. NIA officials leaked to the Zuma camp the bugged conversations of the Scorpions chief investigator, Leonard McCarthy, which bolstered the new president's long-held view that he was the victim of a "conspiracy" intended to destroy his political career. 'Political hit squad' The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) then dropped the charges, sparking outrage in legal circles with one of South Africa's top advocates, Wim Trengove, warning that it was an ominous sign for the rule of law. Jacob Zuma knelt before Nelson Mandela at the auguration "I do believe that it is time for all of us - and particularly for lawyers - to stand up and speak out about abuses of this kind," Mr Trengove said. "Lawyers have a particular duty to do so and, if we don't, we might one day look back at this decision and realize that it was a tipping point leading to the slippery slope of erosion and ultimate destruction of the rule of law." But, as the Zuma camp has often pointed out, the role of the Scorpions, formed when Mr Mbeki took office in 1999 and disbanded last year on the orders of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), was as ominous. It had become, in the words of the party's treasurer general and lawyer, Mathews Phosa, a "political hit squad". Nowhere is this clearer than in a report the Scorpions sleuth, Ivor Powell, drafted on the orders of Mr McCarthy. The report, drafted after Mr Zuma's rape acquittal in 2006, called for "conspiracy to sedition" charges to be investigated, because Mr Zuma's presidential campaign seemed to have been "fuelled and sustained by a conspiracy played out both inside South Africa and on the African continental stage". It said the alleged conspiracy could trigger a "rolling ground-level revolution", the formation of paramilitary units, and a "destabilization" campaign from neighboring Mozambique. Mr Zuma was probably saved from sedition charges because the-then NPA head, Vusi Pikoli, rejected the report. 'Counter revolutionaries' Mr Zuma was not the first victim of what some analysts call the "imperial presidency" created by Mr Mbeki after he succeeded South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. He is the man of the moment. But is he the man for the moment? Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi Early in Mr Mbeki's term, in 2001, his top aides, including those in the safety and security ministry, accused Cyril Ramaphosa, who authored South Africa's post-apartheid constitution, of working with "counter-revolutionaries" to overthrow the government. With Mr Ramaphosa, the smear campaign, reminiscent of those used by ANC factions during the liberation struggle to silence critics, paid off. He issued a loyalty pledge to the party, as a disciplined cadre of a liberation movement would be expected to do, and kept his presidential ambitions in check. At the time, Mr Zuma took a different approach. He too issued a loyalty pledge, but continued preparing to challenge Mr Mbeki. He showed his hand at the ANC's conference in 2007, when he beat Mr Mbeki in elections for the post of party leader. Mr Zuma then replaced Mr Mbeki as South Africa's head of state with a caretaker (Kgalema Motlanthe), won a general election, and has now been inaugurated as the country's fourth president of post- apartheid South Africa. "He is the man of the moment," says the Johannesburg-based political analyst, Aubrey Matshiqi. "But is he the man for the moment? I'm not sure. He has been part of the problem, not the solution. " Cars tailed Mr Zuma (l) won a bitter fight against Thabo Mbeki (r) to lead the ANC And at the heart of the problem is the ANC's difficulty in adjusting from a liberation movement to a governing party, and to distinguish between party, state and the private sector. "If you gain power in the ANC, it gives you access to other forms of power as well, including economic power," says Mr Matshiqi. "The relationship between money and politics has undermined our political culture." Like Mr Mbeki, Mr Zuma had big businessmen backing his presidential bid. But he knew their money, and the campaigning done by the Congress of Trade Unions, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC Youth League, was not enough. He needed to break Mr Mbeki's hold over the state - and he managed to do this by winning the loyalty of key officials in the NIA and the police. They tailed the cars of Mr Mbeki's backers, hacked into their computers and accused them of being linked to Western intelligence agencies and of having spied for the former apartheid government. They also eavesdropped on Mr McCarthy's conversations with Mr Mbeki, the head of state. It was clear that the rules which apply in a democracy had been thrown out. Cold War mindset The Mbeki and Zuma camps were still gripped by the mindset which had developed during the brutal apartheid war, and the Cold War. Then, they fought off the "destabilization" campaigns of the apartheid government, and their international allies. Now, they had turned on each other, as they fought for the spoils of power in democratic South Africa. Some of Mr Mbeki's supporters saw conspiracies hatched in Luanda and Tripoli to advance Mr Zuma's ascent to power while the Zuma camp saw conspiracies hatched in London and Washington to prevent this from happening. "Because the ANC is so dominant (in South Africa), it sends the message to people that if they want power, they can gain it through intrigue and if they succeed they will, of course, try to retain it through intrigue," Mr Matshiqi says, lamenting the ugly nature of the Zuma-Mbeki battle. He says Mr Zuma will have to start rebuilding confidence in South Africa's democratic institutions, starting with the office of the president. "Just look at how Mbeki conducted himself and how he was ousted, and it becomes clear that after Nelson Mandela left, the office lost its dignity," he says. "Will Zuma be able to restore it? Will he able to stay above the fray? I don't know. I hope so (but) it might be that we will have to write off a certain period of our history, and look beyond." The ANC's Mr Phosa is more optimistic about Mr Zuma's rule. "He will recover Mandela's legacy," he said in a BBC interview.
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