Durban - A row has erupted between the DA and the ANC at KwaNyuswa near Botha’s Hill over what colour a two-roomed house, built for two orphaned children, should be painted.
The DA – which helped with completing the house, half built at the time of the death of the children’s parents – has accused the ANC of bullish behaviour.
Local DA leaders claim members of the ANC repainted the house in a cream-white colour just weeks after the DA had painted it in blue, the dominant party colour.
But the ANC has denied any knowledge of this.
The DA’s KwaNyuswa branch chairman, Mfanutheni Ndlovu, said members of his party started building a house after the children’s father was murdered in KwaNdengezi last year. Later in the same year their mother died after falling sick.
“After seeing the orphans’ plight (of) sleeping in a mud house with falling walls and an open ceiling, (DA) members became concerned with the situation,” he said.
The party decided to help finish the two-roomed house which the orphan’s father had started to build before he died.
“We raised money, got advice from a professional builder and the local community rolled up their sleeves and finished the building. The West constituency members helped where they could and painted the two rooms in a dark blue, partly because it was on special and also because it is one of the DA’s colours,” explained DA councillor Peter Davis.
This is said to have angered ANC members in the area.
During the handover of the house last month, ANC members gathered in the area and started pelting them with stones.
“We had to leave prematurely to avoid being hurt,” said Davis. “It happened at a time when our provincial leader, Sizwe Mchunu, was delivering a speech. But this is not going to stop us, especially helping the poor. The area has a high level of poverty. It is our democratic right to be here.”
Mchunu said the ANC had been intolerant.
“After the ANC failed to realise and assist a needy family, we decided to step in and help,” he said. “Their (ANC’s) lack of political tolerance has become a threat to democracy. Our cars were scratched and spat upon. I will be meeting the provincial leadership of the ANC to discuss these issues,” said Mchunu.
However, the ANC provincial spokesman, Senzo Mkhize, advised Mchunu to focus on the DA instead of talking about the ANC.
“We do not know what happened that day. It has never been reported to us,” he said. “We are against people using political expediency and publicity for cheap politics.”
Davis said it was absurd for the ANC members to think the DA could use the orphans’ misery to score political points.
Pointing to a crèche down the road, Davis said: “Look at that building, it was painted by our members using green and yellow paint. Was it disputed? No, because it looks like their (ANC’s) colours. We bought the paint because it was cheap,” he said.
He described the ANC’s actions as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
“We were shocked by this cheap level of politics. Our concern was for the children to get a roof above their heads,” Davis said. “The blue paint was on special and a beautiful colour for the house. We helped children who tragically lost their parents. They stayed in an unsafe falling mud house.”
Ndlovu described the actions as disrespectful. “Had they had a problem with the colour they should have consulted us. People are still scared to join the DA,” he said. “The orphans’ aunt was given a job by the ANC to clean the road. She has been warned not to associate herself with the DA.”
Davis conceded that it was difficult to make inroads in the area.