De Lille blames 'EFF thugs and gangsters' for Dunoon violence

2016-04-19 13:34
Mayor Patricia de Lille (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Mayor Patricia de Lille (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Mayor Patricia de Lille has pinned the blame for recent violence in Dunoon on "EFF thugs and gangsters". A Cape Town safety and security official has also blamed “blatant politics” for public violence in a few areas this week.

But Economic Freedom Fighters officials in the city expressed shock on Tuesday at these allegations, saying the party would never condone violence.

"I am stating that categorically. Violence will not be part of the EFF in Cape Town or the Western Cape," Andrew Arnolds, an elections co-ordinator in the Cape Metro, told News24.

Acting EFF Cape Metro secretary Thlabanelo Diholo said De Lille's "lovely letter" was nothing more than "utter nonsense and a cheap political attempt to discredit the name of the EFF.

"The Dunoon residents came to us saying the EFF is our last hope. We have been the listening ear, giving direction and guidance. We are not leading the struggle. We are just supporting them."

A number of protests have taken place in Dunoon in recent weeks, following an attempted land grab in March.

Foreign-owned shop owners packed up the remains of their wares on Monday, following looting during the latest housing protest.

'People’s lives are being threatened'

ANC ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni told News24 at the time that opportunistic criminals had joined protesters on Sunday and Monday. Diholo also believed opportunists, and not residents, were to blame for violence.

On Tuesday morning, De Lille condemned the violence in Dunoon.

"Major roads have been blocked with burning tyres, public infrastructure has been vandalised, shops belonging to foreigners have been looted, and people’s lives are being threatened," she said.

"Collectively, we condemn what these EFF thugs and gangsters are doing. It is increasing the suffering of all the people of Dunoon."

She said she met "the real leaders of Dunoon", including Makeleni, for discussions on Monday night. Makeleni was not available to shed light on what was discussed because his phone went to voicemail on Tuesday. 

JP Smith, the city’s safety and security mayoral committee member, came to the ANC councillor’s defence, stating he "is not the enemy here".

He believed EFF politics were behind public violence in areas such as Mfuleni, Klipheuwel and Dunoon.

"The rest of the public are paying the price for EFF electioneering."

They wanted to get attention by doing outrageous and scandalous things, Smith told News24.

"There is a one-upmanship with ANC ward councillors."

'It’s not about elections'

De Lille called “on the EFF not to start their campaign with violence and destruction.”

Just over a week ago, residents and members of the EFF's Western Cape branch protested outside the Cape Town civic centre and handed over a list of demands.

Arnolds said Dunoon residents had approached them to organise a march on their behalf.

"It’s not about elections. It’s about water, electricity, land."

He was flabbergasted at the allegations.

"People are struggling for years now to get land or to get a house. They have a right to protest. They are fed up. It’s about the community of Dunoon who took initiative."

Diholo claimed Makeleni and the Democratic Alliance were trying to shift blame.

He said residents were not happy with the response they received to their list of demands.

"People are being evicted from where they are renting. They are landless. Where must they go? Some are pregnant and have kids. Allow us to build our own shacks on this land while we wait for land plans to unfold in 30 years."

Read more on:    eff  |  patricia de lille  |  jp smith  |  cape town  |  protests  |  housing  |  land

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