The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has threatened to bring Cape Town to a standstill in what it refers to as a bid to get the ear of Premier Helen Zille so the Democratic Alliance (DA) can deliver “better services” to poor people in the province.
In what could be seen as a drive by the provincial ANC to pile pressure on the DA ahead of the 2014 national elections, the party on Thursday led hundreds of protesters in a march to the provincial legislature and demanded that Ms Zille collect their memorandum of grievances.
Among other things, the protesters demanded better sanitation, housing and “more comfort”. They said the controversial portable flush toilets that were being rolled out in some Cape Town townships showed that the DA did not care about black people.
It was the second day in a row that the ANC had protested outside the provincial legislature against the DA, although Wednesday’s protest by ANC members of the legislature against “DA power abuse” was minor in comparison to Thursday’s march.
Addressing the crowd outside the legislature on Thursday, ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said Ms Zille’s “refusal” to come out and collect the memorandum showed that she was “scared of the people”. DA provincial leader and cultural affairs and sport MEC Ivan Meyer was sent out to collect the memorandum but Mr Mjongile said the document would only be handed to Ms Zille.
“The next time (when we come to hand over the document), we will bring Cape Town to a standstill … we will bring a crowd of 10,000,” he said.
ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman said that communities “can march all they want but Zille will never listen”.
“She does not even accept our memorandums … the only way is by voting,” he said. “We have to vote for transformation in this province … come 2014, Zille will be a refugee.”
While the Cabinet on Thursday condemned the dumping of human waste in Cape Town by protesters opposing portable flush toilets, Mr Fransman said the protests had actually raised “real issues” around service delivery in the Western Cape.
Earlier in the day during a press conference, ANC Youth League national task team co-ordinator Magasela Mzobe said the Western Cape government had failed to ensure “the very rudimentary levels of sanitation for the people (in township areas such as) Philippi and Kosovo”.
“This speaks to the DA’s total disregard of the dignity of the poor and black majority in the province,” he said. “Poor people in the Western Cape remain of a lesser status and not entitled to the very basic rights to sanitation that today accrue to those in the leafy suburbs of Rondebosch, Camps Bay and many others.”
Ms Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, said on Thursday that the premier had not been available to collect the memorandum and that is why Mr Meyer was sent to receive it on her behalf. He also said the ANC had nothing “of substance or truth to say”.
“While it’s clear that the ANC has good grassroots machinery to mobilise lots of people for marches and demonstrations, it’s also the case that it has nothing of substance or truth to say,” Mr Mbhele said.
“It’s all a great spectacle and lots of rhetoric but there is no basis for the accusations they make against the Western Cape government. Undoubtedly there is more to come in the run-up to the 2014 elections.” – BDLive