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POLITICAL tension over service delivery protests in the Western Cape came to a head yesterday as DA leader and Premier Helen Zille and mayor Patricia de Lille lodged a criminal complaint against the ANC and its allies.
In the past week the two parties have gone head-to-head over the allegedly slow pace of providing services in previously disadvantaged areas, with the DA accusing the ANC of stoking protests.
The ANC has denied that it has had a hand in the unrest accompanying the protests.
Yesterday De Lille and Zille lodged a complaint of intimidation at the Cape Town Central Police Station against the ANC, ANC Youth League (ANCYL), Cosatu, the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations and the ANC Women’s League.
On Friday, during a youth league-led protest, the organisations marched to Zille’s office over the province’s considering closing 27 schools, lack of service delivery, failure to deliver textbooks to schools in Kraaifontein and called for an end to the proposed youth wage subsidy. They said while “we do not want to make this province ungovernable and unworkable [even though] we are quite capable and ready even now”, they would do so if Zille failed to respond to their demands in seven days.
Zille said: “With this recent threat, the ANCYL has exposed itself and its affiliates as being willing and unashamed to use public violence to make the city and Western Cape ungovernable. We cannot allow such thuggery to go unchallenged in a context where we are trying to build a constitutional democracy based on norms of public order and respect for rule of law. We won’t allow the fundamental rights of law-abiding citizens to be threatened in this manner.”
Zille and De Lille said yesterday that threats made by the youth league were related to recent violent service delivery protests in the city.
“It is already clear that there is an element of political stoking involved and there is mounting evidence that these protests are being co-ordinated and controlled,” Zille and De Lille said in a statement.
They said they would not stand by while organisations and people broke the law. During recent protests, residents who were interviewed denied that there had been any political influence. The league’s Dullah Omar region (Cape Metro) chairman Khaya Yozi said: “The premier is trying to shift
the blame to the ANC and the youth league. They must take responsibility for their failures. They must provide for the people.
“Those people [at Sweet Home] have been protesting for years. Earlier this year they burnt the road and blockaded Lansdowne Road.
“How is that related to the ANC or the youth league. They must go to the people and see how they live, and stop running away from the real issue.”
He said the march on Friday was not about the ANC or the DA but young people voicing their demands to Zille.
They were disappointed that Zille had sent an administrator to accept their memorandum. De Lille said the city had footage taken during Monday’s protest at Sweet Home Farm in Philippi where 600 people were demanding proper sanitation, electricity and housing.
In the video there were individuals instructing residents to cause destruction.
“Someone with a loudhailer started to tell people to come out,” she said. “What we are trying to illustrate is that all these illegal protests taking place across the city are clearly well organised and well orchestrated. You can see in the footage that people brought tyres.
“Those responsible for the protests are clearly identifiable on the video.”
De Lille plans to present this footage to provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer when they meet tomorrow.