Loyiso Nkohla speaks while Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille listens. (Patricia de Lille, Twitter)
Cape Town – Ses’khona People's Rights Movement secretary Loyiso Nkohla's backing of the DA is not about the ANC election list controversy, but about improving the lives of the poor, the “poo protester” told News24 on Thursday.
“We are in politics. We are not in church,” he said, acknowledging that he had pledged to support the Democratic Alliance.
But first the Nyanga resident wanted to clear up an issue about his support for the party that controlled the City of Cape Town. As the majority party in the Western Cape, it would square up against the African National Congress he once supported.
He had led several smelly protests in the city which got him in trouble with the law.
In 2013, he and other Ses’khona protesters emptied buckets of faeces inside Cape Town International Airport to highlight how insulted they were by portable toilets the city had erected in informal settlements. They poured excrement on the steps of the Western Cape legislature.
They were found guilty of contravening the Civil Aviation Act and sentenced to three years in jail, suspended for five years. The stunt threw the spotlight on the differences between how the very poor, and how the better off, go about their ablutions. It pressured the city to pay more attention sanitation in poor areas.
Nkohla said because of the restrictions on all political parties regarding membership and criminal records, he could not officially join the DA until his name had been cleared in court. In the meantime, he was pledging his support to the party.
DA Mayor Patricia De Lille said in a statement and tweet that he would not be able to become a member until his legal issues had been resolved.
Nkohla said he and the others who were found guilty were saving up to hire a lawyer to launch their appeal. Because it cost so much they had not been able to do so yet. He intended taking it all the way to the Constitutional Court, if necessary.
Ses’khona co-founder, Andile Lili, said at a press conference that he was shocked by Nkohla's move, but that it was his individual right. He put it down to fallout from the ANC's controversial list processes.
In May, Ses’khona said it was withdrawing its support for the ANC because it had failed to provide land and jobs. The ANC retorted that it was not a jobs agency and because it was not in control of the land in the Western Cape, it did not have any land to give.
Lili, who is on the ANC’s provincial executive committee, said the party and Ses’khona were still talking about their differences. Feedback was expected from the ANC in about a week.
The issue of who got onto candidate nomination lists submitted to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) for the August 3 municipal elections had raised tensions in parts of the country.
The protests and looting that began in Tshwane on Monday were attributed to anger over the selection of National Assembly chairperson Thoko Didiza as mayoral candidate for that metro.
Nkohla said his decision had nothing to do with lists, nor was it a personal attack on the ANC. The ANC had not delivered on promises of land, housing and jobs in the Western Cape, he said.
“The DA is running the city of Cape Town. That is the reality.”
He planned to breathe down the DA's neck and make sure it did what it said it would.
Next week, the province’s human settlements department would make its budget presentation. He intended being in the room to ask hard questions about how the money would be spent.
He was not doing it just as a supporter of the DA, but for the community.
“Politics is about serving people. I am not a Messiah,” he said.
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