Thanks for the visit, but this is how things work

2015-01-18 18:00

Last week, the ANC came to Cape Town to celebrate its 103rd birthday. It wanted to use the Cape Town Stadium and negotiated the terms with us.

We dealt with each other in good faith – I personally met with a senior delegation at the end of last year.

Both parties left feeling good. We had a contract and we were both looking forward to a successful event. It was nice to know that, politics aside, the City of Cape Town and the ANC could be partners for matters of mutual interest, and I wished them well.

We will never make that mistake again.

I think it takes a special kind of deception to agree to something in private and then spend two weeks publicly denying every aspect of your agreement.

I couldn’t do it.

But then, I am not an ANC leader where lies, misinformation and a complete absence of conscience seem to be prized qualities.

First, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte took to the cameras to list her complaints. In her view, barring the use of confetti was near-criminal. We don’t allow it because it damages the ventilation system.

Jessie said we were bringing back the pass system by insisting on access control! Well, the SA Police Service insisted on access control measures because it helps keep people safe.

Ms Duarte was then outraged – outraged! – that the party could not use the pitch. The ANC hadn’t paid to use the pitch.

The ANC was scandalised that it had to follow the rules in Cape Town. Clearly, this is something it is not used to.

But just when we thought the issue was over, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, ever eager to lower the tone of debate, decided that the politics of the gutter made him feel right at home.

So Kodwa told the country that we didn’t want “darkies” messing up the stadium, or Cape Town. Well, Mr Kodwa, we don’t want anyone messing up the stadium, or Cape Town, hence the rules for usage, rules that apply to one and all.

And shame on you for talking about “darkies”. You are the spokesperson for the governing party. You should act like it and look for a little dignity somewhere in Luthuli House. Good luck finding it.

Then Mr Kodwa said that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille instructed the metro police to screen ANC national executive committee members. In fact, all metro police officers were asked to ensure that they maintained the highest levels of professionalism for such an important event.

What’s more, the premier doesn’t have the authority to instruct the metro police and would never attempt to do so. The same cannot be said for State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who ordered the SA Police Service to abandon the access control system, despite not having the operational authority to do so.

But what should I have expected from a deluded party that has spent so long lying that it has lost touch with reality?

We have learnt our lesson. We hope the ANC has too. Thanks for visiting Cape Town, where the rules and law apply to everyone, no matter how powerful you are. That’s why we get things like clean audits and ever-growing numbers of people leaving ANC disaster zones in search of a better life.

In Cape Town, the state does not exist to serve political parties.

De Lille is mayor of Cape Town

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