It stinks...even in the Western Cape.

2013-06-18 15:51

The Western Cape stinks. If you live in the province long enough you are oblivious if you can’t smell it.  The racial slurs, the town planning and infrastructure that keep the races divided and the underprivileged in a situation that diminishes their humanity.

What makes the Western Cape so exclusive to the rest of the country is that it is under the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is “self-righteous” in the manner in which it opposes the African National Congress (ANC) as it claims to have some superiority in its service delivery. However, there are some issues that show that in the one province, they have mastered to maintain a foothold of governance, they fail to show a progression due to their governing style of classism.

The stench in the air comes back to the “bucket toilet” issue. The open-air bucket system is an example of how services in townships have been compromised for a very long time, by the very government that sends out a message that it is supposedly integrated and multi-racial.  The fact that black people in townships in the Western Cape continue to be subjected to use “improved” portable toilets is in fact a continuation of the sub-standard service delivery that was offered by the apartheid government.

The messy story of recent was of residents in Harare, Khayelitsha emptying portable toilets on vehicles in Helen Zille’s convoy and other so-called ANC members doing the same on the steps of the provincial legislature. I do not personally advocate this kind of action by the protesters. However, a point was made and one that had to be made.  The sad historical fact is that poor people are only heard, when they use forceful means. It is clear that the DA and other political parties are oblivious to community building and restoring the dignity of the underprivileged.

The sad part is seeing the DA showing off their “politricks” as they find the same fault with their political competitor, the ANC.  Recently, as part of their election campaign in Gauteng, Helen Zille’s party visited Soweto to expose sanitation problems in the country. The worst part is that both parties are playing with the media to set an agenda that aims to fool the electorate and to skew the problems that are on the ground when it comes to service delivery.  The blame game from both parties simply brings no solution or change of circumstance when it comes to this sad issue.

Back to the Western Cape: if you live in the province you are aware that races are divided by money and the unprogressive town planning.

Sadly, most of the townships are in areas that they have minimum access to other races, quality public facilities and the city.

A friend of mine recently told me about a new residential development that was planned to be established near Melkbostrand in the area. The development that is ironically called the WesCape aims to provide 200 000 homes and Cape Town Major Patricia De Lille was quoted endorsing it, saying that “the project would unlock opportunity and create jobs”.

The thing about this development is that it also stinks.

It stinks of an infrastructure that promotes restrictedness, segregation and capitalism. The development is said to be in red-zone and there have been a  few experts who have described the proposal as an “apartheid development”.  The development will be 25 km away from Cape Town, replicating what happened in the days of suppression in this country, where townships were built away from good infrastructure, quality educational facilities, established institutions and the benefits of city life.

It has been said that developers claim that 25 percent of the homes will be for those earning R 3 500 and the other 25 percent would be those earning less than R4 500. This also stinks, because South Africa has become such a capitalistic society that people are divided in areas due to their income and that means that geographically blacks will always mainly live with blacks, coloureds will mainly live with coloureds and the whites can tolerate the few of them who earn in the same bracket to join them in their “richer-than-thou” areas.

The province of the Western Cape is not a paradise. Its beauty camouflages the battles that the poor face on a daily basis.

To be honest, it is like the rest of this country, which is stumbling and is not finding itself on its feet when it comes to interacting with the poor of this country. There are many examples in the province to prove this; the housing backlog, the way workers are treated in the informal and formal commercial world and the divisions between races still are transparent. However the DA doesn’t come out to admit this.

To be honest, I am against the “better-than-you” façade the DA keeps putting on. They are no better than the ANC.  The way they treat the poor is not any better in their little haven that protects “wealth” and “whiteness”.

Things are bad in this country, when it comes to the life of the poor and disenfranchised.  As Zim Ngqawana documents it in one of his songs, Kubi,”and yes…things are really bad. So I am going to retreat to my hiding-place, switch on his Vadzimu album and in the dimness of the room I listen to the maestro saxophonist wail over the demise of our beloved “Msanzi Afrika”.

If  I am not in my retreat....maybe you can find me on twitter @jazz2ben and let me know your democratic view.


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