‘Why now, mayor?’

2016-06-14 06:00
Patricia de Lille was in Parkwood on Tuesday evening to announce the new ward candidate for municipal elections. The event was held with much fanfare inside the venue while protestors outside felt excluded.  PHOTOS: chevon booysen

Patricia de Lille was in Parkwood on Tuesday evening to announce the new ward candidate for municipal elections. The event was held with much fanfare inside the venue while protestors outside felt excluded. PHOTOS: chevon booysen

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“For five years they have been out of the area, but now that they need votes, they run to Parkwood. We are not puppets and will not be fooled by this political meeting,” angry Parkwood residents said outside the Parkwood Community Centre last Tuesday evening.

And while angry residents who had turned out for what they thought was a community meeting, protested with a loudhailer and placards outside with burning questions about service delivery in their community, members and supporters of the political party inside danced and celebrated to welcome the DA’s new local elections candidate for Ward 66, William Akim.

After being sneaked into the community hall via a back entrance, executive mayor Patricia de Lille called the protesting group outside “clowns” for attempting to disrupt proceedings. “Before we get to the serious business, let me just speak a bit about the clowns outside. The one clown comes from Hout Bay and is (his party’s) number 160 on the list as a candidate. I don’t know what he is doing, but that tik-kop, Roscoe Jacobs, is totally confused. The other one is an independent candidate, but he wants to come in here tonight to introduce me. There are 56 days left to the elections, hy moet vir homself gaan stemme soek (he must go find votes for himself),” De Lille said to a chuckling crowd.

However, while a short video about service delivery was played minutes before in the community hall, screaming residents and backyard dwellers said they have not witnessed service delivery in true form in their area.

One resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was livid because their concerns for safety are being ignored. “I live in Denise Court where floodlights were supposed to be installed five months ago already. Up to today we have not seen anything materialise,” she said.

The grandmother of five grandchildren said her family live in fear. “We are 13 people living in one house and every time you try and find out how far along the process of the housing waiting list is, we get no proper answers. I have been on the waiting list for 40 years already. They are not addressing the real and proper concerns of our community. That is why people are angry,” she said.

According to the protesting group the political nature of the meeting was a slap in the face and they would have welcomed a more inclusive gathering to address urgent community issues. “Either way this meeting is held, we want the mayor to face the people outside. They say they want to address our concerns but they are too afraid to come out and face us,” another resident remarked.

Heavy police, security and law enforcement presence ensured protesting residents remained barred from the community centre.

#GangsterismMustFall convenor, Roscoe Jacobs, says De Lille “attempted to deflect and delegitimise the struggle and concerns of Parkwood residents”.

“De Lille must stop seeking to blame others for her failures; she is attempting to deflect. I don’t do drugs. I exercised my democratic right to protest peacefully. The constitution allows freedom of movement so I can be anywhere anytime and don’t need her permission to do so. Her responses is proof that she cares more about votes than our lives on the Cape Flats,” Jacobs responded to the allegations.

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