Herman Mashaba hits back at Tshwane mayor Randall Williams’ claims he exploits poor
Pretoria - ActionSA has rejected claims by Tshwane Executive Mayor Randall Williams and his Chief of Staff Jordan Griffiths that party president Herman Mashaba’s intervention in Mamelodi and Hammanskraal was tantamount to exploiting the plight of the poor.
Spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni said residents of the two townships had asked ActionSA to intervene after the DA-led administration failed to provide them with services.
She told the Pretoria News yesterday that Williams’ and Griffiths’ attacks on Mashaba were “disingenuous” attempts to deflect attention from the City’s “lack of interest” in matters affecting its residents, as well as its failure to assist the victims of drownings and water shortage in Mamelodi and Hammanskraal.
This comes after the duo questioned Mashaba’s motives for giving legal assistance to the families of children who drowned in streams and rivers across Tshwane, and for calling a water summit to deal with the chronic water shortage in Hammanskraal – a gathering which Williams dismissed as a populist stunt.
Griffiths had also labelled the meeting between the Mamelodi flood victims and Mashaba a political point-scoring campaign.
“If helping people who called Mashaba and ActionSA to come and help them was political point scoring, then ActionSA was happy to do it. Griffiths’s attack on Herman Mashaba is as tone-deaf as it is disingenuous, and nothing more than an attempt to defend the City’s lack of interest in matters affecting the residents of Tshwane. Well, Mr Griffiths would do well to firstly check his facts. Or better yet, ask one of the community members he claims Mashaba is misleading,” Ngobeni said.
“In truth, ActionSA and Mashaba stepped in at the request of community members in Tshwane, following the deafening silence of Mayor Randall Williams and his team on the issues affecting them. In response to these calls, we have given the community the full support of our legal team.”
Mashaba, a former Johannesburg mayor, left the DA and formed a breakaway party with some party leaders last year. This included former DA Tshwane regional leader Abel Tau and former DA Gauteng leader John Moodey.
At the centre of the squabble between Mashaba and Williams is ActionSA’s decision to provide lawyers to the Hammanskraal and Mamelodi families who lost their children.
ActionSA said the intervention is meant to assist in civil and criminal lawsuits against the City of Tshwane, the Gauteng provincial government and their contractors, who have been accused of leaving trenches unfenced.
Monday’s meeting with the flood victims was the latest instalment of ActionSA’s attempts to arm aggrieved residents with lawyers to take action against the alleged failure to move them to a better location.
Insisting ActionSA was asked by the affected communities to help, Ngobeni said the legal team was the same one that had been “fighting for justice for the Lily Mine families, and for whom they have worked and continue to work tirelessly to refute the dishonesty on the part of an uncaring ANC government”.
“Had Griffiths taken more than a superficial interest in this matter, he would know that our legal team has written to the MMC for Roads and Transport, Dikeledi Selowa, to obtain full details surrounding the contractual framework with Vea Road Maintenance and Civils. This is only the first step in pursuing justice for the victims. Moreover, while Griffiths asserts that all documents pertaining to the matter are publicly available, this is not the case,” she said.
“ActionSA has requested from the City to be furnished with the remaining documents by no later than April 30, failing which a PAIA investigation will be launched to obtain the relevant documents. If these documents are public information anyone can access, it should not be difficult for the City to respond to us so we can move on.”