Herron: DA leader lying to desperate families over affordable housing

DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, who is also the Housing MEC. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, who is also the Housing MEC. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 9, 2018


Brett Herron did not pull his punches in response to DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela blaming him for the delays in affordable housing projects at sites such as the Foreshore and Salt River. 

Speaking to the Cape Times on Friday, he accused Housing MEC Madikizela of "lying to desperate families they were elected to serve" and that "his councillors are demonstrating that they do not support the vision set out in the party’s 2016 manifesto". 

Herron highlighted how JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, once indicated at a full caucus meeting that “transformation” is a swear word to him and it "sounds alarm bells" for him. 

On resigning from the DA last week, after serving as mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Herron said he was “disgusted” at the refusal of the DA caucus to support the disposal of the Salt River Market site for affordable housing.

When quizzed on the accusation why the DA had not intervened in trying to speed up the development of affordable housing in the inner city, Madikizela claimed on Thursday there were legal challenges to the projects.

Herron said on Friday: "Madikizela and his DA cohorts' ridiculous comments simply confirm to me that I made the right decision in leaving. The party is morally bankrupt and is a lost cause.

"It seems to me that they have spent the past week, since my resignation, trying to come up with a plausible reason for blocking the Salt River Market site. Over the past week they have presented a number of conflicting and incoherent reasons.

"There is no legitimate reason for withdrawing the item from the council agenda. That is why they are still spinning this thing a week later. A solid reason would have been the immediate response last week Thursday if they were being honest.

"Instead, at a time when people are being displaced from the Woodstock and Salt River areas, and in the midst of an affordable housing crisis they stopped a viable 800-unit affordable housing project and are lying to desperate families they were elected to serve.

"They continue to disgust me. My values and beliefs are not compatible with the DA and they simply continue to reinforce this with the lack of leadership for and commitment to their own manifesto promise of integrating communities. 

"Madikizela is the provincial leader and the MEC for Housing. If I were him, I would focus my attention on why the Salt River Market affordable housing project was blocked by public representatives who fall under his leadership. 

"Six months before an election his councillors are demonstrating that they do not support the vision set out in the party’s 2016 manifesto. How can anyone trust that the DA will implement any promise they make in 2019?

"The DA is exposed for being anti-transformation. As I said, JP Smith said, in response to my presentation on the Salt River project, that 'transformation' is a swear word to him and it sounds alarm bells for him. 

"This he said in support of ward councillor Dave Bryant, who was motivating to withdraw the item from the council agenda. It was interesting to me because I never used the word 'transformation' during my presentation, but it gives an honest insight into how the DA leadership thinks about affordable housing on high-value, City-owned land.

"I have seen reports that Smith denies saying this and plans to sue me. He said it in a full caucus meeting in front of about 150 people. It seems he expects 150 caucus members to be willing to lie under oath for him.

"The Salt River Market project has been long in the planning. I was ward councillor for the area from 2011 to 2016 and the project pre-dates even my election in 2011. 

"Throughout my term of office, we got regular updates on the project and the project was presented to the new sub-council after the 2016 elections. If there were any legitimate concerns or questions, Bryant and his cabal had plenty of opportunities to raise them with me or the housing officials. 

"They did not. In any event, it’s not just the Salt River Market site that belies their agenda. I can give other examples that expose their hypocrisy:

"Erf 2187 in Green Point – an old recreation site – was identified for development. A mixed-income, mixed-use development that would include affordable housing has been in planning for a while. This would be the first mixed-income development which would include social and GAP housing in Green Point and it follows on the province reneging in the plans to use the Tafelberg School site for social housing.  

"It too is being blocked, with Bryant having said to officials that it is too close to the election to be presented publicly. This is deeply worrying. What DA voter is he concerned about losing?"

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