On Wednesday, Bonteheuwel residents chased Mayco member JP Smith and ward councillor Angus McKenzie from the meeting the community was holding with Police Minister Bheki Cele. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The leaders of the ANC’s Dullah Omar region have accused the City and the DA of displaying a lack of accountability following the Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities protest.

“It is unfortunate that the DA has dismissed... the engagement between the people of Bonteheuwel and (Police Minister Bheki Cele) as politicking,” said the region’s secretary, Vuyiso Tyhalisisu.

“The DA has consistently failed to respond to the continued pleas from the Cape Flats to address safety issues and fight gang-related crime.

“It would seem the DA is neither interested in addressing the issues faced by these communities nor willing to allow the SAPS to come and speak to people to address these issues.”

Tyhalisisu’s remarks came just hours after mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and ward councillor Angus McKenzie briefed the media on Thursday. The two were joined by the DA’s shadow minister of police, Zakhele Mbhele, and incoming mayor Dan Plato.

On Wednesday, Bonteheuwel residents chased Smith and McKenzie from the meeting the community was holding with Cele. The residents accused Smith and McKenzie of politicising residents’ grievances.

On Thursday, Smith accused the organisers of the Total Shutdown protest of having a “dishonest narrative”.

“I condemn the moral cowardice by Cele. What happened (on Wednesday) was a sad situation. Democracy means that all voices must be heard and we were not afforded that opportunity at the meeting.

“I am deeply worried that the genuine concerns of crime-ridden communities are currently being hijacked by political interests, specifically in Bonteheuwel,” he said.

“The plight of residents in crime-ridden communities continues to be undermined by (Cele), who has no solutions to the policing failures and lack of police on our streets.”

Smith claimed that the province was “purposely starved of resources”.

“And who is to blame for that? How can one get on top of a problem if you are purposely starved of resources? It is now time for inter-governmental relations and we all need to sit down and address these issues together.”

Cape Times