Check facts before speaking, Tony told

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IOL  tony ehrenreich done CAPE ARGUS Tony Ehrenreich has been warned to read up on a topic before commenting on it publicly. Photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The ANC’s claim that antiretroviral clubs in Khayelitsha were suddenly made part of the World Design Capital had no basis, mayoral committee member for health Benedicta van Minnen says.

She was asked to comment

after ANC caucus leader Tony Ehrenreich questioned the city’s describing ARV clubs as a World Design Capital project.

Ehrenreich said such clubs had been launched for people with HIV by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

“This is suddenly called a World Design Capital project when it was put in place by Doctors Without Borders in 2007 as a pilot project,” he said.

“There were reservations about the project because of the lack of professional personnel in the clubs.”

In its references to the clubs, the city has acknowledged their origins.

Ehrenreich said the World Design Capital programme was a gimmick. He claimed the city had bought into the idea because it had “no comprehensive plan” to improve Cape Town.

“It had no vision and no plan and suddenly they could buy a ready-made concept that would have people believe that a few clever white consultants are going to improve their lives with words and concepts.”

Van Minnen said Ehrenreich should read World Design Capital documents before making such remarks.

“If he had taken the time to read the city’s media release, if he had allowed the facts to inform his nonsensical statement and if he had looked at the extensive reading material World Design Capital projects, he would know the title focuses on benefiting many of our residents, particularly the most vulnerable.”

The title had given the city an opportunity to showcase innovations in Cape Town.

“This included the ARV clubs, which directly make the lives of many of our HIV-positive residents easier and better.

“Added to this, mayor Patricia de Lille has made funds available to each ward around the city to run co-design workshops with communities.

“This was done to ensure each community in our city would in some way benefit from the project.”

Van Minnen said the 2014 World Design Capital title was a platform for community, public, and grass-roots initiatives that would feed into urban redesign projects.

“Addressing the challenges faced by cities requires a creative, collaborative process that draws on the energy and innovation of individuals, communities, corporates and all levels of government.

“It would be so much more useful to residents if Mr Ehrenreich would assist us to improve their lives instead of spending his time on political grandstanding.”

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