The African National Congress government does not care about the people outside of election times, and instead cares only about “making money, about protecting the corrupt, about staying in power”, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

“You can tell a lot about a government by what they do when it’s not election time. By what happens in between elections, when they are no longer that desperate for your vote,” he told a public meeting in Kathu in the Northern Cape as part of his national #Change19 tour.

“And what I’m seeing in Kathu, and particularly here in Mapoteng, points to a government that does not care about you at all once they have your vote in their back pocket. Because a caring government would not let their people live in filth.

“A caring government would not let raw sewage run down your streets and in between your homes where your children play. A government that truly cared for you would not allow this to go on for days without doing anything about it, let alone the months, even years, that you’ve had to put up with it,” Maimane said.

A caring government would not bury its head in the sand and hope the problem got solved by someone else. A government that cared about the people would make it their business to look after them.

“They would make it their business to ensure that you don’t have to live in conditions that they wouldn’t be prepared to live in. The problem is the ANC government cares about a lot of things, just not about you. They care about making money, about protecting the corrupt, about staying in power. But they don’t care about the basics of good governance,” he said.

The problems with the continuous sewage spills in Mapoteng were not because of complex, unfixable issues, or sabotage or even lack of budget. They were simply problems of poor governance. Every piece of equipment used to deliver services needed to be maintained. All equipment needed to be checked for wear and tear, and any old or broken parts needed to be replaced. And that was true for these sewage reservoirs too.

“The sensors in these reservoirs that are meant to prevent overflows should have been replaced as soon as they failed. But, like almost everything in this town it was simply ignored by this ANC government,” he said.

“The change you need will not happen within the ANC. The rot of corruption and enrichment has spread too far and wide already. Change will have to come from outside the ANC, and you are the only people who can make this happen.

“Each of you has, in your vote, the power to decide what path our country takes, and what future a place like Mapoteng has. And in 2019 you are going to have to lend your vote to the DA or face another five years of this – of sewage running through your homes, of taps running dry, and of your government dodging all their responsibilities to you,” Maimane said.