Cape Town – Resources were not being distributed along racial lines, local and provincial government officials have insisted, after a scathing complaint was lodged by trade union federation Cosatu with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Cosatu had asked the SAHRC to investigate “racist practices”, alleging the allocation of critical resources, especially in the education sector in the province, benefited the wealthy more than the poor.
It also criticised the MyCiTi bus service, saying it was prioritised in areas where most residents had their own transport.
Cosatu provincial leader Tony Ehrenreich threatened the union would “march on the houses of the perpetrators and let justice take its course” if nothing was done to address the grievances.
“Cosatu has tried, and failed, on numerous occasions to discredit the city’s efforts to provide a decent, safe and affordable transport service to residents,” said mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron.
“I invite Mr Ehrenreich to step out of his bubble and to travel in a MyCiTi bus along the Table View corridor to Dunoon and Atlantis, or on the N2 Express to Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, Hangberg, Hout Bay and Imizamo Yethu."
“He will be astonished to see that the service is used by Capetonians from all walks of life, regardless of race, gender or creed.”
In its memorandum handed to the SAHRC, Cosatu had called for “an end to all racist practices in the country, with a special focus on the Western Cape that has the highest levels of racism in the South Africa”.
In its list of 10 demands, Cosatu said pupils in “black and white schools” were afforded different opportunities for success through “unequal facilities”.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Millicent Merton disputed this.
“A total of 83.5% of our budget allocations to items such as textbooks, stationery, learner transport and feeding schemes goes to the poorest 60% of our learner population."
“More than 97% of our schools are no-fee schools or have benefited from compensation for fee exemption.”