and Xolani Koyana
THE death toll in the violent protests that have rocked Cape Town has now risen to four with the news that a child, aged 20 months, has died from injuries suffered when a bus struck his home.
Meanwhile, there were heated exchanges in Parliament yesterday on the question of who was behind the protests, which have led to the deaths and closure of major roads in the city over the past week.
The Cape Times also spoke to residents in informal areas who said they had legitimate grievances over the shocking conditions in which they were forced to live.
The ANC hit back at the DA and its leader Helen Zille in Parliament yesterday over accusations that the party and its youth league were behind violent protests in Cape Town, pointing instead to “skewed development” under the DA.
The protests came up in the National Assembly when the DA and Cope challenged the ANC to distance itself from ANC Youth League threats that it would make the province ungovernable.
Zille and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille are to brief the media today “on the recent ANC Youth League-instigated riots in the City of Cape Town”.
DA MP Debbie Schafer asked the
ANC in the National Assembly yesterday to give a clear answer as to whether it supported the league’s statements (that it would make the city ungovernable) and what it planned to do about it.
But ANC provincial chairman and Deputy International Relations and Co-operation Minister Marius Fransman said the DA should stop blaming the ANC and its youth league for the protests – amid loud heckling from opposition benches. “The reality is if protest action happens in other provinces, it’s service delivery. Look at the way you are implementing policy in this skewed development,” said Fransman.
The ANC has distanced itself from the protests, saying it was already meeting communities and urging them to show restraint when protesting.
“The DA has been trying hard to implicate the ANC, but I asked De Lille to provide proof of this. But this thing of Cape Town being the best- run city is not true. Even the auditor-general raised concerns that the city can’t spend its capital budget,” said Dullah Omar region chairman Xolani Sotashe.
Earlier, Cope MP Papi Kganare said, like its youth league, the ANC had promised to make the city ungovernable in the past. “The issue of making the Western Cape ungovernable doesn’t start with the youth league,” he said, warning that what he called its refusal to accept its electoral defeat in the province would come back to haunt the party elsewhere as the whole country eventually became ungovernable.
Gavin Silber, of the Social Justice Coalition, said: “The protests are genuine and the politicians are being opportunistic by advancing their own agendas.” The sad reality in many areas was that 18 years after democracy, people were still living without toilets. “Inequality today is worse than it was in 1994. There is inequality across the country, but in the Western Cape it’s stark.”
Residents of BM Section in Khayelitsha, who were part of the 350-strong crowd that caused mayhem on Mew Way and Lansdowne Road, said they had legitimate reason to protest. They denied any link with the ANC. Resident Vumindawo Mqadi and a group of other residents took the Cape Times into the informal settlement. Most shacks visited were drenched. Residents complaints ranged from housing, broken communal toilets and having to use bucket toilets to no electricity, but their main concern at the moment was flooding.
Mqadi said they had raised issues with the council as far back as when Zille was mayor. It was not the first time violent protests had occurred in the area, he said. Asked what had sparked this protest, he said people felt neglected because of the flooding. Meetings were held regularly and on Saturday they decided to protest.
Busisiwe Tofile was sweeping water from her home. She said she had been living in the area for eight years, but had hardly seen any development. Her home has been flooded for two weeks. “The water comes in through the ground. Our floor is always wet. I have a two-year-old daughter and she always has to be on the bed because she can’t play in the house,” Tofile said.
Nick Nongawuza said when Zille had visited the area while she was mayor, she acknowledged there was a crisis in the area but had never done anything about it.