Marius Fransman challenges the DA to make a full disclosure of all property deals completed with the Western Cape government in the past four years.
Cape Town - Colonialism and apartheid robbed the indigenous people of this country of their land. It also took away their rights and freedom, and even tried to take away their languages and their dignity.
Subsequently, indentured labourers and immigrants from Africa, India, and China experienced similar restrictions. If one flies over greater Cape Town, it is easy to discern that spaces, property ownership and land usage, are essentially what they were like under apartheid.
Many countries that have not experienced colonialism have policies that promote a more equitable society. Just over 100 years ago, in South Africa, the indigenous inhabitants of this country were robbed of 87 percent of the land, through the oppressive 1913 Land Act.
Hence there can be no redress, no justice and no lasting peace without transformation of this sector of the economy. In the Western Cape, the DA have chosen to do the opposite.
They are reinforcing white ownership of land and buildings, along with other aspects of the economy. The stance of the DA on land reform is insipid, dishonest and desperate.
It is against this background that the DA response to issues I have raised about buildings and business last week is therefore nothing more than another example of an attempted deflection of the issues.
The DA, through their MEC of public works, attempts to mischievously muddy the proverbial waters, mask the facts and deflect the debate on their dismal record of transforming the ownership patterns in the economy by selectively cherrypicking and citing five of the provincial government leases in the CBD. The issue of government leasing offices from the private sector is one that has a fair amount of controversy tied to it.
But in the Western Cape, one fact stands out as clear as daylight: under the DA the number of black people who have been able to secure business with the city or provincial government has declined.
Ask any black professional involved in property, infrastructure development and the built environment. The DA can try to spin the stats anyway it likes, but the truth is self-evident.
The DA has single-handedly killed off more black contractors, black SMMEs and women entrepreneurs through the reverse empowerment of privileged, white companies.
They have also put an end to Mama’s specials in the property development sector.
Under the DA, road construction only goes to the privileged few; property leases are snapped up by well-heeled, mainly white, privileged property companies.
The DA under Helen Zille’s leadership is responsible for the regression of all empowerment indicators and for the fact that women empowerment has suffered severe reversals. This has resulted in the ANC being inundated with complaints and calls for intervention.
For example, the incoming president of the Progressive Women in Property Forum, Vuyiswa Ndzakana-Mabutyana, has this to say: “As a black female property practitioner and entrepreneur I have personally witnessed and experienced the regression in preferential procurement by the Department of Public Works, headed by MEC Carlisle… As soon as the current government of the Western Cape (DA) took over the administration, these and other preferential procurement initiatives were stopped.”
Under the ANC government, contracts were awarded to the tune of R1 billion for the construction of two hospitals: one in Mitchells Plain, and the other in Khayelitsha.
The tender specifications were very clear and required local historically disadvantaged individual/enterprise spend of at least 30 percent of the real monetary value within a 5km radius, amounting to an investment in the local economies of the areas surrounding Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha of no less than R350 million.
Zille must account for why less than 10 percent of the empowerment target was achieved.
Why doesn’t she disclose the total spend on leases and then reveal the “five biggest items” as a percentage of that total?
Why doesn’t she aggregate the lifecycle of the leases and say for how long the same old white companies and individuals have benefited from state-leasing and how much the state has spent on those leases?
The DA must explain why there is such an immense backlog of housing, amounting to nearly 400 000 units in the province.
The DA has failed to develop the prime land available in Tokai, Constantia, Pinelands and Bellville for public housing.
Whose interests is the DA protecting? Clearly the hectares of alien pine are more valuable to the DA than the pressing housing needs, the long-standing restitution demands and the imperative of economic redress.
What has Zille’s DA government done to leverage the nearly R50bn property portfolio over which it presides for the benefit of the historically disadvantaged?
Unless the majority of our people become active in the economic mainstream we shall never achieve the full potential that the Western Cape holds.
An equal opportunity society without restitution, redress and transformation is merely an empty slogan repeated to maintain, perpetuate and protect white privilege.
We challenge Zille to make a full disclosure of all property deals completed with the government over the past four years, within the next seven days, and to tell us who the companies are, what the empowerment status of each company is, the duration of each lease agreement, the empowerment status of the lawyers and conveyancers processing these transactions and, similarly, what the empowerment status of each of the estate agents is.
We are confident that our position will be vindicated, and that the DA will have been shown to have rolled back the transformation agenda initiated and led by the ANC.
There are two Western Capes under the DA: one for the privileged, wealthy, mainly white minority and the other for the marginalised, poor and mainly black and coloured majority.
The ANC stands for an inclusive, transformed Western Cape, where equal opportunities are given to all and not just to the wealthy, privileged elite.
* Marius Fransman is the ANC’s Western Cape leader.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.