COSATU is part of a movement campaigning under the United Democratic Front (UDF) banner, which will face off with the City of Cape Town tomorrow when it carries out its “Occupy Rondebosch Common” campaign, despite warnings from the city.
Cosatu’s involvement has led to the ANC leader in the council, Tony Ehrenreich, being accused of “inciting” land invasions because of some of his past utterances.
Ehrenreich was also asked by Mayor Patricia de Lille to intervene in the planned “occupation”.
Led by Manenberg activist Mario Wanza, the group of organisations from various communities will hold its People’s Jobs, Land & Housing Summit on the common, where it will be “reclaiming our right to the city”.
Some participating organisations include Passop, Proudly Manenberg, Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign, South African NGO Coalition and the South African Council of Churches.
During her speech at yesterday’s council, De Lille singled out Wanza, calling him and his supporters “agents of destruction”.
“There are those who would sooner see this city destroyed, driven in two by violence and
aggression, than be a part of a shared destiny. I tell this council now, those agents of division will not win. I think here in particular of Mario Wanza, a would-be but failed public servant, who claims to speak on behalf of the people of the Cape Flats,” she said.
She said that, as the mayor who spoke on behalf of the city, she would not allow “these agents of destruction to use their misguided, naive and brutal misunderstandings of the politics of race to divide this city”.
She said the group would invade “a peaceful community of students, retirees, young and old professionals of all races, men and women”. She continued: “I tell the people of Cape Town this: They will not succeed because we will not let them. I ask everyone, especially the leader of the opposition, who wears a different hat as the provincial secretary of Cosatu, to call on all of our people to work together to build a better city for us all,” De Lille said.
She said the UDF had not divided people under the apartheid regime.
Grant Pascoe (DA) said Ehrenreich’s previous comments about “occupying Constantia” played a role.
“I kindly ask Ehrenreich that he retract those comments. We must be careful of what we instigate and what we say,” Pascoe said.
Ehrenreich said that nowhere in his party’s campaign had he said that people should invade land.
Wanza said the “spirit” of the UDF would return at Rondebosch Common.
He said “poor people will exercise their democratic right to gather” and discuss issues.
“We’re tired of the divide between rich and poor. We invited the mayor and she declined.
“They now want to criminalise this. Their fear tactics are not working.”