DA, ANC accuse each other of racism

2015-02-25 13:37
Helen Zille (File: News24)

Helen Zille (File: News24)

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Zille addresses unemployment & technology in briefing

2015-02-20 16:51

Premier Helen Zille resorted to reading her State of the Province address in a media briefing after ANC MPLs disrupted the Western Cape legislature. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - Race and racism dominated the debate of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s state of the province address in the provincial legislature on Tuesday evening.

The ruling DA, the ANC – which is the official opposition – and the EFF accused each other of racism, City Press reported.

At some point, the members of the provincial legislature were shouting “you are racist” at each other from across the floor of the chamber.

ANC MPLs accused Zille and the DA government of marginalising black people, lacking a will to redress the ills of the past and failure to implement employment equity policies.

The debate came four days after the Western Cape ANC’s disruptive tactics barred Zille from delivering her address on Friday.

Leader of the ANC caucus, Marius Fransman, was the first one up. He accused Zille of dishing up the same promises every year, saying that when she fails to deliver she blames it on the national government.

“The harsh reality of life in the townships and on rural farms she covers up with slick statistics and clever spin.”

Fransman claimed that under Zille’s watch inequality has grown in the province, and all indicators of transformation and empowerment, employment equity, black small and medium development, procurement reform and women and youth empowerment have regressed.

“The mainly white privileged have become more privileged. Their lavish lifestyles are secured and intact. They enjoy the spatial privileges they enjoyed under apartheid,” he said.

He charged that while Zille claimed to condemn racism “every bit as much as we do” in policy and practice, the government under the DA amounted to racism as they perpetuate apartheid privileges, prioritise spatial planning and land use to entrench skewed ownership patterns.

Fransman also took issue with Zille for “making it her stock in trade to rubbish the persona of the president and tarnish the image of the ANC, our government and of the country”.

Another ANC MPL, Khaya Magaxa, charged that the recent racial attacks of black people in Cape Town were launched by Zille’s reference to Eastern Cape pupils who seek to study in the Western Cape as “refugees”.

“She started the attack, she emboldened the racist,” he added.

‘A racist notion’

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo hit back at the ANC, saying the party had incited a racist notion through its attacks on the DA-led Western Cape government.

Mbombo said the constant name-calling and labelling of black politicians who joined the DA as puppets, herd boys and tea girls was consistent with the intentions of the apartheid government.

“It never occurred to me that decades after apartheid some of us are still being ridiculed and discredited by the virtue of the colour of our skins,” she said.

When Mbombo, who was a professor of community health at the University of Western Cape before her election to the Western Cape legislature last year, was appointed as health MEC by Zille late last year, the Western Cape ANC said she was only appointed to the position because of her black skin.

“It makes me wonder if it is worth it then to educate and empower a black child when the ANC of today goes against the very values which were once so dear to the liberation movement of days gone by.

Indeed racism is alive,” she said.

Another DA MPL, Public Works and Transport MEC Donald Grant, also hit back at the ANC.

Grant said the ANC identified racism in relation to any issue in the province, at every possible opportunity and in response to any set of circumstances.

Grant said as part of its standard racism accusation, the ANC likes to claim that the DA-led government does not award sufficient business opportunities in the form of tenders to undertakings representative of previously disadvantaged people.

He argued that the facts do not support these accusations.

“But the ANC is not going to allow facts to spoil what is for it a good story.”


Historically disadvantaged individuals

Grant said in the five completed year budget cycles before the DA was elected to government, the figures for tenders awarded in this province showed that the DA government had awarded more contracts to historically disadvantaged individuals (HDI) when compared to the ANC.

Grant gave a breakdown of the figures before announcing: “Speaker, the ANC government of this province awarded more value to non HDIs than to HDIs, in fact, only 46% to HDIs and 54% to non-HDIs”.

Grant said while the HDI basis was still in place, the DA government allocated more than 90% of tenders to HDI companies and fewer than 10% to non-HDI companies.

Since the introduction of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment this allocation in favour of such companies has been maintained, added Grant.

He insisted that figures did not support the repeated accusations of racism.

Zille’s response to the debate led to several points of orders from opposition benches and heated encounters, which sought to disrupt her speech.

Zille took issue with the racism accusations against the DA, saying the party was in fact the only one whose leader directly addressed racism.

Zille said she never understood why white racists were associated with the DA as the DA condemned racists and had in the past expelled those in its ranks.

“I addressed white racism because it exists and I use examples from Kenilworth to Northern Cape,” she said.

She turned the tables on the ANC, saying the party was the most racist in the country.

“The ANC’s racism is deep-rooted and is denied. The ANC must deal with its racism.”

She accused the ANC of dividing South Africans across racial lines, saying this was the only ticket the ANC had.

“It can’t argue, debate or put anything else on the table,” she said.

Zille said poor people were not stupid and they moved to the Western Cape because they could see that it was better managed than any other province.


Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  marius fransman  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  politics  |  local government

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