Western Cape ANC calls for scrutiny of white DA members

2016-01-25 16:13

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Cape Town – The DA in the Western Cape needs to scrutinise the pasts of all its white members, the ANC in the province believes.

"The DA is consciously and intentionally choosing to evade scrutiny of its white members because they fear what they may find out," provincial ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko said in a statement on Monday.

Diko was reacting to reports that City of Cape Town councillor, Sam Pienaar, had been served a notice of intention to suspend him. He allegedly failed to declare his participation in a shooting of anti-apartheid protesters over 30 years ago.

The DA had given him until 17:00 on Monday to motivate why he should not be suspended.

He had been a councillor since 2011 and headed sub-council 6, which included parts of Bellville, Belhar and Bishop Lavis.

The 73-year-old was a commander in the SA Defence Force civilian defence unit on the Cape Flats, and allegedly present at the planning of the Trojan Horse shooting in October 1985.

The Cape Times reported on Monday that on October 15 that year, railway police hid themselves in crates on the back of an SA Railways truck that drove down Thornton Road, Athlone. Officers emerged from the crates and opened fire on protesters who had been pelting it with stones.

Jonathan Claasen, 21, Shaun Magmoed, 15, and Michael Miranda, 11, were killed and several others injured.

They did the same thing in Crossroads the next day, killing Mabhuti Fatman, 20, and Mengxwane Mali, 19.

On Monday, DA provincial spokesperson Liza Albrecht said Pienaar had not declared his involvement with the unit during his interview process. 

Diko said it was hard to believe that the DA could not have known about Pienaar’s past.

'Racist tendencies'

"They go to the greatest of lengths, targeting ANC leaders with all manner of investigations and scrutiny, but today they are telling us their investigating arm was too short to unearth knowledge that is on record about Pienaar," Diko said.

He called on the DA to investigate its white members' "racist tendencies".

"Let that happen immediately, because with each day that passes, another DA person is caught on the wrong and evil side of history," Diko said.

In his testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997, Pienaar said his public involvement with the Trojan Horse incident had caused embarrassment, pain and disruption to him and his family.

"It cast a shadow over my proud military career and also my civilian career as an educator."

He denied having any part in the deaths of children and said he had performed his duties in trying to stabilise areas of unrest. 

The shooting took place during a two-month period when he was called up to serve as a part-time civilian force soldier.

"On a daily basis I was subjected, along with my troops, to unsavoury civilian disobedience and violence."

He had been trained to protect and not destroy lives, he said.

On the day of the shooting, he was not under the command of the police and no policemen served under his command.

He said in his testimony that the operation which led to the deaths of the protesters was a police one and was conceived at a daily meeting.

"At this meeting somebody, and I can't remember who it was, indicated that a vehicle which should appear to be a civilian vehicle and which would conceal police members would be sent into the area in an attempt to identify and arrest the ringleaders.

"Nobody gave any indication during this meeting that any unlawful action or attack was envisaged, and I still believe that nobody had that in mind. I, in fact, agreed with the plan and it was an acceptable conduct for me," he said.

He distanced himself from the police actions and said he only learned afterwards that children had been killed.

Pienaar could not be reached for comment.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cape town

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