Made famous by allegations of mass looting at the Estina dairy farm, the Free State’s agricultural hub Vrede is now plagued by mass unemployment and dilapidated infrastructure. Leading up to the May 8 elections, aggrieved community members told City Press that they would address these and other matters through their votes.
The community members said they would either vote for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or not vote at all because the ANC-led Phumelela Municipality was failing to address their demands for jobs. “There is no work. Even when we try and find work we can’t get the jobs because this municipality hires people that they know.
People get jobs based on who they are connected to,” said Masechaba Tsolo*.Another community member, Mapule Selahle*, added that “voting is useless, they make promises but once they are in power they never fulfil their promises so it’s pointless”. A manager in the office of the mayor, Dume Kobeni, shared some of the sentiments expressed by community members.
He said that unemployment was the biggest issue in Vrede.“Sometimes we do get sleepless nights as an organisation because we want to retain a majority in the municipality. However, we are on the elections campaign trail . most of the complaints are about service delivery and unemployment.
People are not working especially the youth who have graduated from universities and colleges and we are trying to alleviate that.