Acting provincial ANC chairman Khaya Magaxa Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Media
Cape Town – As Western Cape Cape Premier Helen Zille outlined the DA-led government’s plans for the next few years at her State of the Province address on Friday, the ANC committed to press for change on major issues affecting the province.

In an interview with the Weekend Argus, acting ANC chairperson and leader of the party in the provincial parliament, Khaya Magaxa, said the party would push for decisive action on these issues: racism, corruption and provision of decent housing and health services.

“If the DA is serious about resolving issues affecting communities in this province, then it needs to invest resources into putting an end to the social ills and not gloss over these,” he said.

Magaxa said since the DA took over in the province, racial incidents had been on the rise.

“People of colour are now afraid to even dine at restaurants across the metro because of racial attacks. You have to have a thick skin to venture out to these areas. And the leaders in power have either turned a blind eye to these or deny that racism exists here,” he said.

He said Zille’s government had to take responsibility and deal with the racism “scourge” as a matter of urgency. Magaxa accused the provincial government of “reversing” gains previously achieved by the ANC in implementing employment equity across various levels in public administration.

“What they are doing in employment practices where they prefer one race to another in appointing people for jobs has direct relations to racism,” he said. Another focus area where the ANC wanted to see a change was corruption.

“We don’t deny the fact that within our party we have corrupt people and we have dealt with them. We have a zero tolerance towards corruption particularly towards elected officials and that is why we have taken action against some councillors who have been implicated in corruption. The DA must do likewise,” Magaxa said. He accused the provincial government of allocating more resources to DA-led councils than to the ANC ones in the province.

“The Kannaland municipality crisis is as a result of inequal distribution of resources and this has to come to an end,” he said.

Gangsterism is another issue the ANC wants addressed.

“It affects all aspects of life. Children are victims as well. We want the provincial government to bring back the Bambanani programme where volunteers were encouraged and incentivised to keep their communities safe,” he said.

The provision of decent houses to restore people’s dignity will be another major issue that the ANC will press the DA on.

He noted the poor conditions under which people lived in Temporary Residential Areas (TRA) and said although these were supposed to offer relief for these people who were in transition, some communities found themselves trapped in the TRAs for close to 10 years.

“The provincial government is silent on plans to find alternative housing for them. They have lost hope and do not know where they will be going to. Because of the poor conditions there, the levels of crime and drug abuse have increased.” Magaxa said nothing had been done regarding the upgrading of the informal settlements.

“We are not expecting them to build houses for everyone within five years, but they need to do something urgently.”

The provision of low-income social housing closer to the city would help alleviate overcrowding in black communities as well as build social cohesion, he said. The eviction of farmworkers was another concern.

Regarding health care services, he said waiting periods for medical care at state hospitals had to be reduced.

While these plans were directed towards ensuring good governance in the province, the ANC also had internal plans to strengthen its leadership and grow its support in the province.

Weekend Argus