Eldorado Park mother Dareleene James, who since writing to President Jacob Zuma back in 2013 to complain about the drug scourge that had gripped her community had become an ANC councillor, received praise for her activism from the president on Thursday.
Zuma, who was on the campaign trail in Lenasia and Eldorado Park, said James was a brave woman.
“This is a powerful lady here…if I had to exercise my vote now, it would go to her. I am more than confident that now as a councillor she has all it takes to serve our people. The fact that she took a brave decision to challenge the drug problem and made strides, and now is contesting to serve her people is remarkable,” Zuma said to a loud applause from community members gathered at a local hall to hear him speak.
James wrote a heart-rending letter about her then 17-year-old son’s drug addiction, and how he had returned from rehabilitation only to start abusing drugs again. Her son stole from her and even sold his own clothes to feed his addiction, she wrote at the time.
Draped in ANC regalia complete with a branded cap, James sat next to Zuma at the community meeting. She told the residents that the fight against drug abuse in Eldorado Park had yielded results since Zuma’s visited the area in May 2013 to hear from concerned parents.
“The results of 2013 when this community stood up for change, 279 youth got accredited, and those are not just a certificates. The youngsters can get employment in plumbing, finance, management and other professions. Five of others had a start-up assistance to start their businesses,” she said to loud applause from the residents.
“I am here to serve with support from government. We do not expect hand-outs from government Mr President, because we have the potential to bring about change…these are not stupid people sitting here.”
She added that Eldorado Park could be a role model community for the rest of the country. She along with other ANC councillors contesting the August 3 local government elections were introduced to the community during the meeting.
Zuma was accompanied by City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau and members of the mayoral committee as he campaigned for the governing party in Eldorado Park and Lenasia’s informal settlement Thembelihle.
The president’s visit to Thembelihle coincided with City Power’s R1 billion project to connect the city’s informal settlements to the grid. Zuma switched on electricity in the first shack, where residents would receive power supply for the first time. The residents had no electricity before and relied on illegal connections for power.
– African News Agency (ANA)