Cape Town - Presidential hopeful and Minister for Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale on Tuesday declared he “loves” Helen Zille - because she works hard for “her people”.
The ANC bigwig made the shock admission as residents were being moved into new houses in Joe Slovo on the Cape Flats.
The Cape Premier and DA leader has become a hate figure for many of Tokyo’s ANC colleagues. And she has faced vicious abuse from senior members of the ANC Youth League behind a spate of crippling protests in the Mother City.
But Tokyo says: “I wish the Premier was here - I love her too because she is working for her people.”
And Zille on Tuesday night welcomed Sexwale’s overtures.
“I greatly value the partnership between the three spheres of government as this is necessary for service delivery,” she says.
“We work day and night to do our best.”
Arriving hours later than expected, Tokyo came to see residents being moved into their new houses at the Phase 3 development.
He had been meant to join Zille for a handover ceremony earlier in the morning. But Tokyo says he was held up at a cabinet meeting with Jacob Zuma and his Deputy President Kgalema Motlante - the two men who will be his chief rivals in his quest to become SA’s next president.
“We were all supposed to be here [together with Premier Helen Zille] in the morning to hand over the houses,” Tokyo says.
“But I was in a meeting with President Zuma and Deputy Kgalema and I left 10 minutes before it was adjourned.”
Tokyo did not take the opportunity to attack the DA or Zille for failing to deliver on election promises.
Instead, he stressed the problem is a national project which can only succeed with co-operation between national, provincial and local government.
“Our targets are not easily met, we are struggling really hard,” Tokyo explains.
Earlier, a group of about 50 informal settlement dwellers from Barcelona in Nyanga stormed into the marquee set up for the event.
They sang anti-Zille songs, saying she had failed to build houses for the people.
Many of the protesters admitted they took part in last Friday’s riot that shut down a city highway.
“We were out on the N2 on Friday to cry out for our need for houses,” Nyanga resident Nwabisa Zontlahlo, 31, says.
“And that obviously did not work, so we are here to speak to the main man responsible for housing in this country. “We are sick of Zille and her promises.”
But Tokyo left shortly after delivering his speech. When asked about the spate of protests in Cape Town, Sexwale would only say that people have a constitutional right to protest. “If people don’t protest, we will not hear them,” he says.
“Protest very much, but do so with dignity and responsibility.
“When we have built a library, don’t burn it because you want houses.” - * This article was published in the Daily Voice