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Sewage Crisis Plagues Finetown as Residents Cast Their Votes



Finetown by-election

Residents of Finetown in Ennerdale, Johannesburg’s deep south, expressed their frustration over the lack of service delivery as they turned out in large numbers to participate in the high-stakes Finetown by-election on Wednesday. Among them was Sarah Sejake (60), who, after casting her vote, expressed her simple wish for a decent house with a flushing toilet, highlighting the community’s pressing needs. Despite her longstanding loyalty to a particular political party since 1994, Sejake made the difficult decision to vote for change this time, reflecting the desire for improvement among the residents.

According to the Daily Maverick, the voting process occurred at Finetown Primary School, where scores of people patiently stood in long queues despite the cold weather. Near the voting station, the Daily Maverick team encountered the pungent stench of sewage flowing through dusty informal roads, a vivid representation of the challenges faced by the community. The lack of infrastructure was further evident with the unopened Finetown Clinic, completed three years ago. Although most of the area consists of RDP housing, informal dwellings are an undeniable reality.

Within the community, some residents chose not to vote, expressing disillusionment with the political parties’ focus solely on gaining votes without addressing the pressing needs of the people. Karabo Monare, who last voted in the 2021 local government elections, stated that he would only vote again when offered a job, highlighting the frustration and desperation for meaningful change. Nokukhanya Sithole voiced her embarrassment as a resident of Finetown, describing the lack of essential services and the prevailing insecurity due to high crime rates.

Also read: Violence Erupts in Finetown As Seven People are Shot

Despite the challenges faced by the community, some residents, like Tazneem Boyes (65), cast their votes with hopes of obtaining better services. Boyes stressed the need for consistent refuse collection and government assistance for the less fortunate. Similarly, Jeffrey Lucas and other community members highlighted issues such as rolling blackouts, refuse collection, and potholes that they resorted to filling with concrete.


The by-election in Ward 7, triggered by the resignation of ANC ward councillor Amelia Zama who defected to the Patriotic Alliance (PA), attracted intense political campaigning. Party representatives from ActionSA, the PA, and the ANC actively engaged with voters outside the polling stations. Notably absent was the DA, which withdrew from the race following the resignation of its candidate, Randell Markgraaff, raising concerns about the integrity of the electoral process.

Election monitoring expert Wayne Sussman speculated that the absence of the DA might benefit ActionSA, with the PA potentially emerging as the primary winner if ActionSA failed to capitalise on the votes that would have gone to the DA. Sussman also noted that voters concerned about service delivery were likely to consider the EFF as an alternative. The final results, released on Thursday, confirmed the victory of the PA in the ward, reflecting the community’s desire for change and improved governance.

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Picture: Twitter / Thulani_Mcusi


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