Cape Town - More protest action is expected through the city on Monday says Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement, who on Sunday threatened to continue with various demonstrations.
Several roads were closed on Thursday when informal settlement residents affiliated to the movement blockaded roads with burning tyres and tree stumps. Several other protests were also staged in other parts of the city.
The threat of renewed protests comes from head of the movement, Andile Lile, who is also an expelled ANC councillor. Lili is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s court on Monday for allegedly dumping faeces at the provincial legislature in June. In this Q & A, Xolani Koyana talks to Lili about what he hopes the protest action will achieve.
Q: What is the thinking behind the protests?
A: The people are angry because they live in poor conditions, some without proper toilets, houses and others with no land to put up shacks. They are also frustrated that the City of Cape Town banned us from marching in the CBD to highlight these issues. Ses’khona wanted to join a march by Numsa in the city centre (on Wednesday) but we were served with interdicts by the city. We have been banned from marching there. The people are protesting against this and some of the leaders that are being intimidated with court interdicts.
Q: In October, there was major looting of stalls in a march organised by Ses’khona. Don’t you think such a sanction (such as being banned from the city) is warranted to ensure the safety of others?
A: That is not reason enough. Loyiso (Nkohla) appeared in court last month and there were more than a thousand people in court to support him. There was no violence. (Premier) Helen Zille should take responsibility for what happened in October. She refused to come out and people became frustrated.
Q: The protests tend to turn violent at times. Don’t you think that these protests will impact unfairly on ordinary people who are faced with the same issues?
A: We don’t believe that the actions will affect others because Ses’khona speaks for the poor. The people have given us their blessing and as Ses’khona we support the action by individual communities to fight for their rights.
Q: The elections are two months away so one would question the timing of these protests. They could be perceived to be political or part of the so-called “ungovernability” campaign.
A: We have been raising these issues since last year. If anyone says that, then that would be a lie. We have done this last year, vehemently rejecting Helen Zille’s policies that insult our people. The best she can do is swallow her pride and do what the people want. Her government must deliver for the people.