WE ARE INDEPENDENT movements and individuals who have come together to campaign in this local government election under a common banner – the Cry of the Xcluded. We did not come from nowhere, even if elections are new to many of us. We have been active in our communities for years, campaigning for decent housing, land, affordable basic services, jobs and against corruption. Many of us fought in the liberation struggle. We have decided to enter this election because our country finds itself at the edge of a cliff. The economy is so sick that it places the nation at a point of no return. The levels of poverty, and unemployment – in particular amongst our youth, women, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI + community – have reached such proportions that the country can be plunged into another civil war and continued conflict if nothing is done.
Local government is in a terrible mess. In many municipalities, basic services have collapsed. Our people have to face water and electricity cut-offs, even where they pay for services. Often raw sewage runs downs our roads and many are in a shocking state. Clinics are overrun and often don’t have basic medicines. This is not just a result of corruption. It is also an outcome of systematic under-funding of local government, budget cuts and the outsourcing of services to profit-making business interests, imposed by the ANC national and DA provincial governments. Another major cause of this crisis is the deployment of incompetent political appointees. Not only do we need a new vision for local government. We need a new vision for government and for the fundamental transformation of our society.
We have joined forces to continue OUR collective struggle to transform the lives of the poor majority and for a life of dignity.
For us dignity means:
● Not going to bed hungry;
● A decent job with a living wage;
● Well-built houses in communities where we can live without fear;
● Decent free basic services, especially water, electricity and sanitation;
● Safety in our communities.
Although others have changed, we remain unapologetically radical. We believe people make their own history. We are our own liberators. Elections are a continuation of the struggle – not a substitute. If we are elected, we will take the struggle of the streets to the city and town halls to make poor people’s struggles louder. We are not politicians, we are activists. Our manifesto is guided by a saying of one of the great leaders of Africa, Amilcar Cabral: “tell no lies, claim no easy victories.” In that vein, we will not make empty promises. The truth shall set us free.
What we stand for
We have come together because, even though we belong to different organisations, we share certain values and beliefs. The most important are:
Inequality is killing our country!
● It stands in the way of social and economic freedom.
● It tears apart our communities and makes us suffer the indignities of hunger, poverty and violence.
● We stand for a Basic Income Grant of R1500 a month for all the unemployed and those earning less than R3500 a month.
● We want quality public education and health systems, not determined by wealth.
● We are for equality based on the redistribution of wealth, where the mines, land, banks, factories, cellphone networks, farms, food corporations, etc, are democratically owned and controlled by the people.
Racism and xenophobia divides us!
● The economic and political elites foster divisions to turn poor against one another, to prevent the working class and poor from uniting in struggle.
● We are anti-racist and believe in a non-racial South Africa.
● We are anti-xenophobia – the discrimination against foreigners – and we decry the practice of the bosses to drive wages down by exploiting foreign nationals and migrants from deprived parts of our country.
● We fight all forms of discrimination or oppression based on the supposed colour of our skin, the language we speak or because of our religious beliefs.
Sexism & gender-based violence oppresses women!
● No man must lift a hand to women or girls.
● Gender-based violence is not part of our culture.
● We are opposed to all forms of sexism and the discrimination and oppression of women or of any person because of their sexuality.
● Women who perform essential work in the home and community must be fully compensated, as it is the unpaid labour of women which is the source of their continued oppression.
Integration not new Apartheid
● Spatial planning must be expedited to unify our cities, towns and villages.
In addition, we believe
● The local government fiscal framework, based on full-cost recovery for services and puny funding from the national fiscus, is the main cause of the crisis of local government and must go.
● Extreme austerity imposed by Treasury is becoming the most painful and destructive policy for municipal governance we have experienced since the end of apartheid.
● Scientific knowledge is created by both indigenous and academic intellectuals. We know that Covid 19, HIV-AIDS, TB, etc. pose great dangers for public health and can only be countered through scientifically-tested treatments, which can include western and non-western medicines.
● We face great dangers from climate change, and only the radical reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases from burning coal, gas and oil to generate energy, as well as many other causes that municipalities have control over, can prevent more extreme storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts and fires.
● We are for a just transition where workers and poor communities are compensated for closing down polluting industries, including in many municipalities which need to be restructured.
We want democratic and people-controlled municipalities.
● We will fight for municipalities which will build and fix roads, water pipes and other infrastructure.
● We will struggle to ensure that services are supplied in greater quantity and quality than at present, with no disconnections due to inability to pay, and no collective disconnections in our communities (Eskom ‘load reduction’) if our neighbours cannot pay.
● We are against the tender system, which breeds corruption. We are against contracts and jobs for people because of political connections.
● We will fight privatisation and the outsourcing of municipal functions, including in the form of public-private partnerships. Workers should be insourced and paid a living wage.
● We will demand transparency of all projects, contracts and financial transactions. Only through complete transparency over decision-making and public ownership can we ensure equality and accountability.
We want well-financed municipalities
This will require a massive increase in budgets for local government. This is why the Cry of the Xcluded commits to hard fight:
● For participatory budgets & planning.
● Against budget cuts.
● For free basic services financed through national government transfers.
● To reduce top-heavy management through rationalisation of bureaucratic hierarchies.
● For higher taxes on the very rich.
● For full accountability and transparency, where every municipal contract with private companies is published and easily accessible.
● For municipal land to be made available for integrated housing, commonage and for food gardens; we support the demand of rural women for one woman, one hectare for sustainable household consumption.
● For municipal land and resources to be made available for recreation, especially for our youth.
● For the implementation of social programmes for youth to provide employment, cultural activities and facilities to overcome substance abuse.
● To promote labour-intensive production through municipal by-laws – people before machines.
● To implement effective track and tracing for Covid-19 infections and to encourage free testing and vaccinations for all.
● To employ community health workers to provide primary health care at community level as part of building a comprehensive primary health care system.
● Although education is not a municipal function, to do everything in our power to fight to get rid of pit latrines and to make education truly free.
● To provide free sanitary pads – menstruation is not a choice!
● For climate jobs by building municipal-owned wind and solar plants and supporting community renewable energy cooperatives.
● To prioritise the expansion of public transport to ensure free and safe public transport.
● To prioritise the employment of youth, especially unemployed graduates, to meet the unfulfilled needs of our people.
Therefore we make the following pledge to fight against being bought off by money
and interest groups:
All candidates standing for this bloc, if elected will:
● Receive a modest wage paid by their movement, comparable to the wages of government or industrial workers, and will contribute a percentage of their income to movement building in our communities.
● Refuse any position on any corporate board or contract with any profitmaking company, and will have no business dealings with any part of government.
● Reside in the ward they are elected, make their contact details available to the community, be available 24/7 to address community needs, and hold monthly ward meetings.
● Be active in community-based organisations.
● Respect the right of recall by the community, should they lose confidence with the elected candidate, in properly constituted assemblies based on the principles and commitments of this Manifesto.