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‘Ses’khona is a front for the ANC’

Cape Town - Civic group Ses’khona does “not fit into the agenda of the people of Cape Town” and it should move its ungovernability campaign to the north, says mayor Patricia de Lille.

In yet another scathing attack on Ses’khona, De Lille said in her mayoral speech on Wednesday that the organisation was a proxy for the ANC, and that it “shamelessly exploited the poor” in the Western Cape.

Seskhona People's Rights Movement members went on a door-to-door campaign in Constantia earlier this year. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said the civic group should move its ungovernability campaign to the north. File picture: David Ritchie. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

“These enemies of the future have found a home in the ANC-front organisation Ses’khona.”

She added: “It is quite ironic that that they are not in other parts of the country where things are far worse. My advice, as they shamelessly exploit the poor in the Western Cape, is that they should trek north... and do the same things there.”

De Lille also put the blame for the recent violent land invasions firmly at Ses’khona’s door. “Led by current and former councillors of the ANC, Ses’khona has made it its business to create human misery from which to profit.”

The recent land invasions of city-owned and private land were part of a “politically motivated campaign to make the city ungovernable”.

There was footage of them inciting crowds in Philippi East, she said.

“As such, they are responsible for any conflict that results from the tensions between the land invaders and the police.” Ses’khona was therefore also responsible for the conditions that developed in these settlements because of land invasions.

“These include poor access to city services, constant flooding, high crime rates and poor connections with economic opportunities.”

De Lille said her office had been “flooded” with complaints from people who had been told they would get jobs at Metrorail if they paid Ses’khona R25. Others had been told that, for R4 000, Ses’khona would sell them plots of land.

Many of these residents had laid criminal charges with the police, De Lille said.

Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement leader Andile Lili said the mayor was panicking. “She can see we are growing more powerful, we are going to make sure the government of the DA is taken out of power. They have every right to panic.”

He said the suggestion that his organisation operated only in Cape Town was a “blatant lie”. According to Lili, Ses’khona had strongholds in KwaZulu-Natal and Port Elizabeth.

“But Cape Town is an example to our people suffering there, an example of what can be accomplished.”

After the statement made by De Lille that he should head north, he said he was tempted to tell his members to grab any open land they could find and start building shacks.

“The number of people we have right now will be uncontrollable for police and law enforcement… I am this close to making that call.”

The ANC’s Xolani Sotashe asked De Lille why she engaged with Ses’khona if it was just an ANC proxy. He also questioned the city’s rejection of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) findings of discrimination against Khayelitsha residents.

De Lille said she had had meetings with Ses’khona, but “nothing can justify the lawlessness for which they are responsible”.

De Lille said the city had appealed against the SAHRC’s findings, based on the substantive and procedural flaws of the report.

Additional reporting by Kieran Legg

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