Elliotdale's Suffering - statement by UDM Member of Parliament (5 February 2010)

The UDM extends its condolences to the family and friends of Natitane Shemese and her 3 grandchildren who were brutally murdered on the night of 31 January in a village in the Elliotdale/Ntsingizi area.

We wish to thank the police for the swift arrest – on Tuesday - of suspects.

Whilst poverty is not an excuse for such heinous crimes, we cannot deny that an area such as Elliotdale is in desperate need of development. There is a broader undeniable issue at stake here; namely that the social fabric in a desperately poor and neglected community has unravelled. Elliotdale is acknowledged as the poorest town in South Africa.

It is the moral and constitutional duty of Government to address the development needs of this community. The previous ANC Premier launched – with much fanfare – a housing project in this area, prior to the last elections. To date, only two houses have been erected and the project is at a standstill. This is a typical pattern in the Eastern Cape of making big promises before elections but neglecting poor communities afterwards. This community has been forced to attempt building their own access road, whilst repeated requests to government for assistance with fertilizer and fencing have fallen on deaf ears.

It is time for Government to demonstrate genuine interest in the plight of Elliotdale, not just when the ruling party is looking for votes, but also between elections.