Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize was highly criticised on Wednesday after posting campaign pictures on his Twitter account. The minister was in KwaZulu-Natal talking to residents ahead of the ANC’s manifesto launch at the weekend.
He posted pictures of himself walking out of a mud house in Georgedale, eThekwini, which is falling apart, with a door not high enough for him walk straight up, and was accused of “mocking” voters.
The minister later deleted the picture.
“ANC mocks its voters. Shame! What a horrific organisation,” said @UnmovedLee, while @MsThatoM asked: “You aren’t even embarrassed to post this?”
But ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula jumped to Mkhize’s defence, saying there was nothing to be embarrassed about. According to Mbalula, Mkhize’s pictures only highlighted the poverty problem people faced.
“Why should he be embarrassed to post this? Ngoba is real life we have many of our people living in squalor,” he said.
He said it was nonsensical for people to expect the ruling party to only campaign in “posh” areas, ignoring the pleas of the poor.
“With over four million RDP homes built and handed freely to our people since 1994, ANC leaders continue to visit those [which] still need us to do more. The president also visited an informal [settlement] where there is a housing development in the area to move people over – from shacks to homes,” he said.
However, his comments only solicited more comments from social media users, who were still not impressed with his explanation.
“How are the R20m statues coming along while the people who put you in power live in these conditions? How many of these people could’ve been housed in better conditions with your R20m budget? I’ll listen on the radio,” said @Ofentse, while @GracyMosetlha asked: “But if I may ask, how many times you do door to door and see this? What are you doing about it? We’re tired of seeing this without you doing anything about it. You can’t even ask a hand from people to help build for these poor people. And yet you’re expecting our votes. You still ask.”
Some, however, defended Mbalula and Mkhize, saying they were right for visiting the poor and listening to their pleas.