Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille File photo: David Ritchie
Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille File photo: David Ritchie

ANC stoking protests in Cape - De Lille

By Xolani Koyana and Aziz Hartley Time of article published Jul 30, 2012

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Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille has accused the ANC of stoking protests in the city for political reasons. In her weekly newsletter on Friday, she said some protests over services were politically motivated and part of an agenda to destabilise Cape Town.

“This is not a conspiracy theory. It is the real frustration of a government dealing with those individuals who would destabilise our society because they have no faith in the ballot box and so must resort to violence.”

De Lille said while she acknowledged there were legitimate protests and that residents felt excluded and neglected, there were people who used the poor to push political agendas.

“I resent the use of such brutal tactics to fulfil a political agenda,” she said. “There are already pieces of evidence in the public domain which indicate that such forces are working in our communities.”

There was a link between the protests and the ANC’s “Operation Reclaim”, which had been presented as “a concerted campaign by the ANC to, it is suggested, destabilise the Western Cape in the run-up to the national election in 2014”.

The cost of protests continued to mount. Protesters from the Phumlani Village informal settlement had caused R600 000 damage to 12 traffic lights on Thursday.

In the past two weeks, R2.6 million had been spent in fixing traffic lights in the metro area, De Lille said.

ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman said the protests had nothing to do with the ANC.

Asked on Sunday which protests were part of Operation Reclaim, De Lille said there was a growing trend for organisations to state publically their intention to destabilise Cape Town.

“The most recent example was the ANC Youth League protest on Friday,” she said.

De Lille said on Friday she would seek a meeting with police provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer to probe theories of political agitation around certain service delivery protests.

“This meeting is aimed at ensuring maximum co-operation between the city and SAPS to best manage these protests, and giving dignity back to those who may be being used by those with resources to do so,” she said.

“We need to be able to distinguish between legitimate protests and those fuelled by political ambitions.”

Fransman said the DA-led government had done little for poor people in the province in the past five years.

“All of this has nothing to do with the ANC. It just shows the DA’s failure to provide for the poor people.”

Andiswa Bhabha, a leader of the Progressive Youth Movement which led the protest over the bucket toilet system in the SST informal settlement in Khayelitsha, said: “The protest was by the community, not the ANC. People have real problems.”

The protesters had also demonstrated outside the home of ANC councillor Amos Komeni, who lived in the area.

Protest leaders had met the mayoral committee member for utility services, Shehaam Sims, and city officials last week and had been promised they would visit the area on August 7.

“We are happy with the outcome of the meeting. They are putting in toilets. The ANC Youth League guys came on Saturday to say they want to help us. We told them they are too late.

“I’m not shy to say I’m ANC, but they and other politicians, when they see elections coming they approach people to ask what they can do.”

Zondelele Mzantsi, a community leader in Phumlani Village, said: “This has nothing to do with the ANC. It is about the way residents feel.

“The mayor must come here and talk to us about the land issue. The DA councillor has promised to get to us in two weeks’ time, but if there are no answers then, people will go back to the streets.”

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Cape TImes

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