Western Cape residents’ lives are humiliating – Mamphela Ramphele

Most Western Cape residents turn to drugs and alcohol because their lives are humiliating, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has said.

“The majority of the province has this sense of humiliation. There is an anger turned inwards, an anger at the self, and they turn to drug abuse and alcoholism,” she said today in Cape Town.

“This is the mother city. This is the mother province ... People are desperate. How can you be at peace with yourself?”

Ramphele and her provincial executive were addressing the media on the party’s plan for the province.

She believed there was a solution to helping people escape their circumstances.

“I believe a simple and quick way of dealing with it is education, education, education. Not closing down schools but expanding education.”

Ramphele said the city and the province both exemplified the architecture of apartheid.

She was ashamed to drive from her home in the wealthy seaside suburb of Camps Bay to the airport and see the gap between the rich and poor.

“We need to rethink this city. It is very difficult to have permanent toilets when people’s homes are built on the wetlands.”

She criticised the provincial government, led by the Democratic Alliance, for thinking portable toilets were a good solution.

“Portable toilets are not the answer. They are an insult to the people who have to live with those arrangements. As an emergency, yes, but not as a permanent solution. You can’t.”

Better co-ordination was needed between the three spheres of government to work out how people could be given dignified homes and settlements, she said.

Deputy provincial chairman Andrew Arnolds said residents should be given the right tools to build their own homes and create a sense of ownership.

He said many communities had the necessary skills and could build houses of a better quality than those completed by government contractors.

Provincial party chairman Mzwandile Manjiya said the red tape on all government tenders should be reduced to allow poor contractors to have a fair advantage.

“We want to get Western Cape people working. That’s why you don’t hear us talking about job creation. We want people to create their own jobs,” he said.

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