It’s Minister Sisulu vs Khayelitsha CAN’s Swartbooi
Cape Town - Following a verbal clash between Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Khayelitsha Community Action Networks (CAN) member Nkosikhona Swartbooi, Sisulu’s spokesperson Steven Motale said Swartbooi was being opportunistic and should be ashamed of himself.
Motale was responding to a statement by Khayelitsha CAN asking the minister to apologise about the scene. In a video that has since gone viral, Sisulu exchanged words with Swartbooi during her visit to Taiwan informal settlement at Khayelitsha, where 350 homes were gutted, leaving more than 1 000 residents homeless.
Swartbooi said Sisulu had previously made empty promises, including the building of houses in Empolweni.
Following the incident on Tuesday, Sisulu issued a statement that she was in consultation with her lawyers regarding Swartbooi.
Motale said Swartbooi was being opportunistic and was using the plight of people in distress for his own ulterior motives.
“The issue he raised at that meeting had nothing to do with Taiwan, he was raising issues around Empolweni and, of course, he has no information about Empolweni because he missed several meetings where real community leaders of Empolweni were briefed. It was opportunistic of him and he should be ashamed of himself to use the plight of people in distress for his own ulterior motives.
“It is him who is supposed to make an apology, not the other way around. We are not going to entertain this matter and … the Minister is taking legal actions,” said Motale.
A statement by Khayelitsha CAN said the minister was using tactics to intimidate and scare them.
“We have noted the minister mentioning lawyers in her statement and noted media reports that the minister will take legal action against Nkosikhona. This legal threat, the tone of the minister and the actions of her bodyguards on Monday, and the recent statement she released yesterday, are tactics not new to us. These are tactics to intimidate and scare us.
“We refuse to be bullied by politicians. We will continue to hold public officials and politicians to account for their failures and continue to compel them to fulfil their constitutional obligations,” the Network said.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido condemned Swartbooi’s actions.
“We should not even entertain the actions by a group of people trying to gain publicity during the crisis of our people. We condemn the matter and we are dealing with serious issues here that need our attention,” said Tyhido.