Residents ask Mbeki for schools and houses

Better houses, toilets, helping grandparents with school fees and voting for the ANC were the topics Thaba Nchu residents discussed with President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday.

Mbeki was visiting the former Bophuthatswana town, now part of the Mangaung local municipality, about 80km east of Bloemfontein as part of the African National Congress' door-to-door campaign for the local government elections on March 1.

Philipena Motlhalanyane, 75, lives in an old two-room mud house in Moroka township in Thaba Nchu and looks after six children, of whom three are at school.

We need a (proper) house," she told Mbeki.

Motlhalanyane also looks after her husband, William, 85, on the R780 pension she receives.

"Vote, yes, I voted for the president the last time and I will vote for him again," she told an ANC canvasser.

Shirley Maele, 67, also of Moroka, told Mbeki she needs help looking after her grandchildren, because her daughter was looking for work.

Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff later took her details to be referred to the relevant government officials.

"The pension (date) must come down to 50 years," Figamora Rapulane, 59, said, sitting with Maele while talking to Mbeki.

She said women were working harder than men these days "looking after everything" and needed to rest earlier. She will start receiving her pension in September.

Another resident, Jeanette Shai, 47, told the president there was a need for a Sesotho-language school in Thaba Nchu.

Two other residents, Samuel Mogotloana, 24, and Thabo Moroe, 24, said the biggest need in Thaba Nchu was employment opportunities.

"Jobs, we are very poor," Mogotloane said.

Also waiting to see Mbeki was Emile Mabaso, 58, who said her RDP house leaks in the rain.

"The water falls inside, they must fix it."

Mabaso, from Ratau township, also thinks her life would be better if she could get running water at home as well as a proper toilet.

"The insects in the toilet at home are a pest," she said. - Sapa

Article by: By Andre Grobler - www.iol.co.za