‘ANC is hijacking issue for own gain’

Residents from the Hangberg community conducted a protest march to hand a memorandum to the SAPS, City Council, and office of the Premier, at the Houtbay police station, demanding that Premier Helen Zille provide housing to those evicted last week. Photo: Gareth Smit.

Residents from the Hangberg community conducted a protest march to hand a memorandum to the SAPS, City Council, and office of the Premier, at the Houtbay police station, demanding that Premier Helen Zille provide housing to those evicted last week. Photo: Gareth Smit.

Published Oct 8, 2010

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By Quinton Mtyala and Max Mclaren

The City of Cape Town has accused the ANC and Cosatu of speaking with “forked tongues” in the aftermath of a violent protest in Hangberg two weeks ago.

This was after the city said it had uncovered a “drastically” different memorandum, drawn up by the community of Hangberg, which was supposed to have been presented at a community march to the Hout Bay police on Sunday.

Instead, the one presented to the police directly attacked Premier Helen Zille and the DA-controlled city council for “dehumanising homeless families”.

At a press conference yesterday, where the city handed out copies of the two memorandums, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said this was proof that the march had been “hijacked”.

“I’ve written to the premier saying we should not reply to the ANC’s memo,” said Smith.

But Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, defended his organisation and the ANC’s involvement in the march, and the final memorandum that was drawn up.

How the final memorandum was worded was not important, the point he said was uncovering who had been behind the violence in which several people were injured and four lost their eyes.

 

But Kevin Davids, a member of Hangberg Civic Organisation, confirmed that many in the community had been angered by the final draft of the memorandum.

“We had a meeting with the ANC today (yesterday) and were told that the memorandum which was read out did not represent the views of the community,” he said.

Davids said that when the community got to the police station, the “ANC people” grabbed centre-stage and read out their own statement.

“For the community, it felt as if the ANC had hijacked the march, which was not a platform for politics,” said Davids.

Sunday’s memorandum, also addressed to the SAPS, was more scathing in its attack on the metro police, saying they had come “with the intention to terrorise, dehumanise and maim”. But the language in the original memorandum was more indirect, blaming the police and city administration for using brutality “to repress legitimate expectations of our people”.

l The original memorandum, Smith argues, illustrates the political activism of certain members of the Hout Bay community who appeared to be steering violence.

l In the second memorandum, mention is made of women and children beaten inside their homes, which was not mentioned in the original.

l Whereas the memorandum delivered to the police called for President Jacob Zuma to begin a commission of inquiry into the violence, the original made no mention of this.

Smith said the ANC’s involvement in the Hangberg eviction protest was not consistent with its silence on similar evictions around the country, by ANC-controlled local administrations.

He said it was in the interest of the ANC to keep the confrontation in Hangberg violent to gain media attention. - Cape Times

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