Behind the Mother City’s flames

2012-08-11 16:40

They are called to protest by SMS, pamphlets and loud-hailers at midnight, say people in Cape Town’s townships.

Residents and leaders in Philippi, Nyanga and Khayelitsha say ANC members and allied organisations, including the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), are behind recent violent protests, giving credence to Mayor Patricia de Lille’s claims that the province’s opposition party is fanning the flames.

During a march on the legislature last month, the ANC Youth League threatened to make the city and province “ungovernable”. De Lille and Premier Helen Zille have since laid charges of incitement to violence.

Two weeks ago in Philippi, a Golden Arrow bus was torched.

Later that week, Sandile Hoko died after he lost control of the bus he was driving when it was stoned by protesters in Khayelitsha.

He ploughed into six shacks and two others have since died as a result of the accident.

On Tuesday, a meeting De Lille was to attend in Khayelitsha to discuss service delivery plans was disrupted by hundreds of youths.

Ten residents interviewed by City Press all confirmed the disruption was planned by the youth league.

Philippi community leader Aaron Tshatshu said politically aligned organisations manipulated frustrated residents to their own ends.

Khayelitsha resident Nomboniso Qhaga, 39, said it was common to have known ANC members announcing urgent meetings through loud-hailers “in the middle of the night”. The meeting would instead be a protest. Gatherings were not officially called under the ANC banner.

Nyanga resident Nokubiwa Khabinja (30) said: “Sometimes we are told there are jobs available,” she said, only to arrive to discover a protest about the lack of jobs.

Khayelitsha resident Amos Ntanga (40) said children as young as 13 were being urged by politicians to damage government property.

Sweet Homes informal settlement Sanco secretary Buntu Mangaliso said many falsely claimed to represent Sanco.

“Some people have their own personal agendas, thus use structures like Sanco to mobilise against certain political parties. In Philippi, there are not less than five committee members representing Sanco and they all say they are legitimate.

“When these structures don’t see eye to eye with their opponents they are quick to call a community meeting and organise a protest,” he said.

ANC ward 34 executive committee member in Philippi, Noluphiwa Siphoso, neither confirmed nor denied orchestrating protests.

“We give people facts about the city and people decide themselves what must be done,” Siphoso said.

“When we see some services are lacking we gather proof and let the community know and advise them on what channels they should follow. Yes, one of the options is to take to the streets and voice their anger because people are tired of empty promises.”

Youth league provincial task team member Khaya Yosi insisted they were not to blame.

“It is a lie. People toyi-toyied because they were fed up with lack of service from the ruling government,” he said. “The (city and province’s) decision to lay criminal charges is opportunistic and immature. We have not mandated anyone to burn tyres on the road or damage property.

Where is the proof De Lille said she would bring forward?”

– West Cape News 

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