It seems inevitable that the Tom and Jerry escapades of the DA and De Lille and their respective minions is going to dominate the newspaper headlines for quite some time. It’s turned into a real mudslinging match steeped in accusations and one doesn’t really know what to believe. As ordinary Capetonians, I don’t think we have a clue as to what has really been going on and what has been said behind closed doors. We are just the gullible muppets expected to believe that these politicians have our best interests at heart. Regardless of all the heated public arguments there should be enough evidence all around us to suggest that neither the DA nor De Lille should be entrusted with the further management of this city ever, ever again. Ordinary Capetonians should know this. You don’t need to look very far.
Firstly, there is the matter of our rates bills. Thanks to the DA, my rates bill went up a hundred percent in the space of a year. Can you afford that? I can’t. Because of the poor economic climate I haven’t had a salary increase in two years. You can’t imagine how hot it makes me under the collar when I get my rates bill each month and then read about surpluses and wasted expenditure in the newspaper. The DA has helped to make our financial burden that much greater to bear. What can one do? You have no choice but to pay your rates whatever bizarre tariff the DA feels like imposing – or else you are left disconnected. It’s not about service delivery anymore – it’s an open ended licence for extortion.
Secondly, we are all too familiar with the Guptas and the problem of State capture. It’s all in the news. But no one seems to be too worried about the local situation of “neighbourhood capture”. You will understand if I’m reticent to be anything but extremely vague – as the news will tell you, it’s a dangerous business making enemies with people in authority. But let’s just say that business wise it helps to be on friendly terms with the councillor in your ward. He can make that zoning problem go away or make it cause your business to flounder. The DA will claim innocence of course (the ANC did the same) but the truth is a different matter. Don’t believe me? Well, why not whisper to some business people in your community. You will find the problem is very, very real.
Thirdly, public service is not exactly at a premium amongst the DA. Have you ever appealed to your councillor for help? My neighbourhood has an open strip of municipal land bordering our properties that has been used as an access point for a spate of robberies. It is a chronic problem. I struggle with break-ins at least once a year. When the Ward councillor about the possibility of limiting public access to this strip of land, the councillor just gave us the run around. It was a case of “don’t make your problems mine”. How very reassuring. In another situation I wrote to my Ward councillor about a difficulty I was having with the erection of wall and how municipal regulations meant I could not secure my property properly. The councillor wrote back, agreeing with me and stating that an exception to the municipal regulations was in order. The only problem was that he wrote back six months later. By that time the wall had been built according to the stupid municipal fence regulations. Thanks to the DA for their “help”.
Fourthly, the whole proposed land deal at Salt River with Communicare is tainted. The aim of this proposed land deal was to provide housing for low income residents, but clearly this is a scam. The politicians talking about transformation and concern for the poor are talking absolute rot. It is widely assumed that Communicare is an organisation aimed at helping the poor, but it’s not. It is a business. A bit more research should be done. Earlier this year some of the poorer long standing residents at a Communicare complex were offered money to leave. Why? In order for wealthier tenants to take their place. Is this really an organisation focussed on social concern? But the DA wanted to gift them with a large valuable tract of property. I ask, why? What’s really going on here?
Fifthly, I think we can all agree that the way the DA has dealt with water management of the City of Cape Town has been shambolic. For months we heard lies, accusations and a collection of utter double speak and nonsense. The people of Cape Town were punished with harsh tariffs when it was the DA’s inability to make adequate preparations and utilise all the available water resources properly that was at the root of the problem. The ANC was lambasted when Eskom failed to prepare adequately for the electricity supply needs of the country. The DA is has done no better with the water management in Cape Town. Probably worse.
I think it remains to be said that the people of Cape Town should not be caught up in the latest rounds of the ongoing blame game, nor should they take seriously the highly inflammatory statements being issued. The fact of the matter is that there are no innocent political figures in this saga and the only victims are the people of the city of Cape Town. We are the ones getting the short end of the stick while our pathetic politicians play their power-mongering games. Don’t listen to them. In the ordinary world where nobody cares and investigative journalism never reaches, the reality should be obvious. We mean nothing to these politicians. We’re just muppets. And don’t we deserve better than this?
John Welsford is a Baptist Minister and is active within the Northern Suburbs community of Cape Town.