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PREMIER Helen Zille has asked President Jacob Zuma to condemn the ANC Youth League’s public pronouncements to make the city and province ungovernable.
Zille also announced yesterday that the provincial cabinet had directed the State Security Agency (SSA) and the police to investigate the recent violent “service delivery protests” in the Western Cape.
Speaking in her capacity as DA leader, Zille held a press briefing in Parliament on “the seditious threats of prominent members of the Western Cape ANC Youth League”. She was flanked by Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille.
Zille said she had written to Zuma.
“My letter to the president follows direct threats by the ANCYL… and the subsequent sustained and co-ordinated campaign over the last two weeks,” Zille said.
“This is not the first time we have written to president Zuma… we have been warning the president for over two years that the league has spun dangerously out of control, and that he should act to defend the constitutional order and uphold the outcome of a democratic election in the Western Cape.”
Zille said Zuma had not responded.
“If the DA Youth league were acting like that I would not keep quiet. The president is absolutely silent,” she said.
“All we have heard from the ANC in [Parliament] is justification for the ungovernability campaign. I am not going to take this lying down.”
Zille said Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the provincial director of public prosecutions advocate Rodney de Kock had declined to investigate previous complaints in the face “of prima facie evidence”.
On Tuesday, the deputy provincial commissioner Major General Peter Jacobs told the Western Cape standing committee on community safety that there was no evidence that the ANCYL was behind recent protests.
Asked about this, Zille said the police’s investigation was in its infancy.
De Lille said all evidence had been handed to the police.
“We have given video tapes and written threats to the police and it is now up to them to investigate, identify the individuals responsible, lay the appropriate charges and ensure cases succeed in court,” De Lille said. “It is not up to the provincial government to do this.”
Zille called the evidence devastating and damning. “When a person goes to the police and says they have been raped, the police do not say ‘prove it’, they investigate.”
Asked if the protests were not service delivery protests, De Lille said they were “organised illegal ANC demonstrations with the express purpose to destroy property”.
“If people are allowed to break laws, the country is on a slippery road.”
Zille added that the protests “actually destroy services”.
“People have legitimate grievances and we are working to spend budget to deliver. The challenge is delivering to everyone… sometimes expectations far outstrip what the government can provide. We have a massively redistributive budget towards the poor. Every year we spend R1 billion on free water, free electricity, free waste removal for poorer areas. We have preferential funding of poorer schools and hospitals,” she added.
Asked if she would meet with the ANCYL, Zille said she would if and when they saw reason.
“I have said before that if the ANCYL is reasonable, they will get a reasonable response. It is not my job to make the ANCYL see reason. If president Zuma abrogates responsibility, it is not for me to pick it up. If the police and SSA fail [to act] it is not for me to pick up the baton,” she said.
In response to the DA’s statements, ANC parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo tweeted yesterday: “Some media might buy DA propaganda that poor service delivery in Cape townships is figment of ANCYL’s imagination, but the poor on the ground won’t”.
Earlier on Tuesday he said the DA’s reaction to the protests had a “strong whiff of ‘swart gevaar’ message of apartheid government when faced with resistance”.
The Cape Argus was unable to reach presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj and ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu after several attempts last night.