Cape Town - A Ses’khona rights group leader’s persistent references to the premier as “that racist girl called Helen Zille” led to a fierce exchange at the Lwandle evictions hearing that ended with a DA representative being thrown out.
“Chairperson, are you really going to allow this?” DA provincial communications director Jamie Turkington demanded after Loyiso Nkohla had repeatedly used this description of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
Turkington said he was a concerned member of the public who felt “upset” by Nkohla’s comments.
“Before I leave tell me, chair, will you allow these bad comments to continue? Will you consider what I have questioned you on?”
Shouting at Turkington, inquiry members asked him to leave the Good Hope subcouncil chambers where the inquiry was being heard.
Turkington and a fellow DA member, who declined to be named, left the room.
Inquiry spokesman Vusi Tshose told Turkington he was welcome to testify.
Nkohla, deputy leader of the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement, said: “If there are any members of the public who have a problem with my comments they should come to me.”
Mbuyiselo Matha, councillor for Nomzamo, which includes Lwandle, told the hearing yesterday that the people who built shacks on land owned by the SA National Roads Agency were “backyarders” who were tired of being given service delivery promises that were not kept.
He said residents of Wag ’n Bietjie, an informal settlement near Somerset West, had been moved after losing their shacks in a large fire in 2007.
“The (then mayor) Zille made promises to move people after fire gutted their houses. Some people were moved and some could not be,” he said.
Those who were not moved, under an agreement, to three pieces of land in Nomzamo and Asanda Village had to rent backyard dwellings.
The sheriff of the high court recorded that about 230 shacks were destroyed, while residents said 849 were.
Inquiry chairman Denzil Potgieter asked Matha whether he had figures of his own. Matha replied that he was not invited to count the shacks being demolished and relied on the community’s figure because they had records of who had lived on the land.
The inquiry, set up by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, is investigating the circumstances around the eviction of illegal shack dwellers in Lwandle on June 2 and 3.
Sheena Jonkers, founder of Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa, told the inquiry that a young man had committed suicide and a woman had miscarried after the eviction.
Inquiry member Butch Steyn said: “It leaves me a little bit uncomfortable. Do you have affidavits to back this presentation? If you do, we need copies.”
Police spokeswoman Phindiswa Gcume said 11 men between 17 and 49 were arrested and charged with theft and possession of presumed stolen property in Lwandle.
They will appear in the Strand Magistrate’s Court.