Grabouw protest – ANC‘s power ploy

2012-03-24 16:00

This week’s protests in Grabouw are to date the most violent manifestation of an ANC plan to win back the Western Cape.

After its provincial conference last year in Cape Town, the party launched an aggressive campaign to wrench the province from the DA, which is currently in charge of the province and its capital Cape Town.

This week violence broke out during a protest for more classrooms. The protest came a few weeks before a crucial by-election in which the ANC will try to win back the council it lost to the DA in 2011.

The resignation of an ANC-turned-DA councillor Catherine Booysen-Nefdt, prompted the by-election.

Booysen-Nefdt was part of a controversial meeting at Century City, outside Cape Town, where ANC leaders such as deputy international relations minister Marius Fransman met councillors to convince them to support the ANC.

A councillor who attended the meeting told City Press yesterday the ANC wanted to make the municipalities ungovernable.

“They used those words, they want to make life difficult in the municipalities like ours. They want power,” the councillor said.

ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile denied there was a campaign to cause havoc in DA municipalities.

But City Press is in possession of four affidavits and an email claiming otherwise.

DA Saldanha councillor Olwene Daniels said the ANC offered her money to join their cause.

The ANC “mentioned (to me) that there is R5 billion at national government to be released and there are millions we can talk about to change our thoughts/minds.”

Bitou councillor Nevelle de Waal said the ANC approached him six times to resign and stand in a by-election for them.

He said the party told him “I can take up any position and a package of five years of councillor in cash”.

A key Western Cape ANC leader in the province admitted to City Press the ANC planned to “expose the DA on service delivery” for electoral purposes.

“The plan is to make sure you focus on the service delivery and expose the weaknesses and the mess-ups of the DA. We have to focus on that.”

He also said the ANC would capitalise on DA infighting, where elected representatives were unhappy with the jobs they were given.

“People get pissed off because they don’t get positions. We will use that,” the leader said.

Although rural municipalities are not make-or-break for parties in the Western Cape, they harness the crucial coloured vote.

In 2011 the ANC lost most of the few municipalities it ruled in the Western Cape, including Theewaterskloof (Grabouw), Hessequa (Riversdale) and Bitou (Plettenberg Bay).

When Fransman was elected as ANC provincial chairperson in 2011 he bemoaned the previous leadership who gave up on winning the coloured vote and focused exclusively on its black African constituency as part of the Let Sleeping Dogs Lie campaign.

DA provincial leader Theuns Botha, who was riding his horse when speaking to City Press, blamed the violence on Fransman.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He is busy full-time with efforts to unseat the DA in various unconstitutional ways.”

Fransman could not be reached for comment, but Mjongile said the resignations from the DA was because the DA was “frustrating” the councillors. 

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