Cape Town - There was a tense stand-off in Khayelitsha on Thursday when the ANC called a meeting with residents displaced by the recent fires and charged that the city council was not looking after the displaced people.
Local DA representatives were forced to leave the meeting when ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman told the crowd to send them “back to their white bosses to tell them that you are suffering”.
Fransman, together with provincial ANC Youth League leader Khaya Yozi and SACP provincial general secretary Khaya Magaxa, told more than 800 residents at the meeting that the City of Cape Town only caters for whites.
More than 4 000 people were displaced and three died when a wild fire ripped through the BM settlement, destroying almost 800 shacks.
The Western Cape ANC leadership arrived at the OR Tambo Hall on Thursday afternoon after calling for a meeting with residents to “intervene” in the humanitarian relief effort. Fransman first met church leaders and community leaders to “devise a plan of action”, and a committee was elected.
Addressing residents, Fransman said: “There is no proper disaster management with this incident. The city is not proactive enough. No one sees the plight of people living in this centre. People have to sleep on the cold floor, they are given a few pieces of bread and a bottle of juice…”
He said the committee would be the link between the City of Cape Town and those living in the centre. Fransman said the committee would focus on co-ordinating food and donations, setting up a database of those living in the centre and “getting the city to be more active”.
A confrontation followed when DA PR councillor in Khayelithsa Puliswa Marman and three other women, dressed in DA clothing, walked in. Fransman said: “Tell those women in the DA T-shirts that they must go back to their white bosses and to tell them that you are suffering. They must go back to where they came from… ” Fransman said as the crowd cheered.
Some shouted derogatory comments at Marman. A group of about five men then surrounded her, telling her to leave the hall. She at first refused, but left as the situation intensified. Outside, she said she and DA MP Masizole Mnqasela wanted to address the residents on the progress made with the relief.
“We are planning to hand over more blankets and food to the people. The ANC has used this incident as a way to score political points,” she said.
Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said assistance offered to people included blankets, clothing and food. Those who lost their identity and social grant documents would be helped. He said engineers had surveyed the site.
The city would plan a layout for the affected area, including roads. “ We will also provide services such as water, electricity and temporary roads,” he said.