One of the biggest scandals of Covid-19 would be to use the pandemic as an excuse to round up poor people in relatively affluent areas in the Western Cape – and dump them somewhere on the Cape Flats.
An attempt to do this is already on the go in Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek – led by a senior DA councilor, Felicity Purchase.
Using WhatsApp – inexplicable for a public representative – Purchase gave a heads-up to her supporters on Day 11 of the lockdown….
‘Yesterday, the City moved about 90 people off the streets of Simons (sic) Town (34) and Fish Hoek (56) to the temporary shelters at Strandfontein,’ she said.
‘Today, a further 30 were moved – 22 from Simon’s Town and 8 from Fish Hoek,’ she added.
‘There are still some individuals hiding out – and so, tomorrow and Wednesday, I will be accompanying LE, SAPS and private security to visit those hiding out on Fish Hoek beach, Clovelly wetlands, Sun Valley wetlands, Glencairn wetlands, Black Hill, Dido Valley, Jurassic Park and Partridge Point.’
She did not define what was meant by visit.
She said she had been to the Strandfontein camp and the new residents were happy there.
What Purchase is overseeing is no different from what former National Party Prime Minister and then President PW Botha, with his henchmen, carried out with such relish during the heyday of apartheid.
Is Purchase, like Botha, going to say: ‘Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears’?
Let’s be blunt about this: the majority of poor in this province and, indeed, in South Africa, are black
The DA response to Purchase’s roundup has been, well, typical of the DA. James Styan, its provincial communicator, said: ‘When it comes to an unprecedented national disaster, there must be plans and contingencies for everything.
‘The [Strandfontein] stadium already plays a key role in the disaster plans at the moment and is a further necessary component for the weeks to come too.’
This is bullshit, of course.
First, of all, why is this ground now called a stadium. Secondly, If a sportsground is a necessary component for housing the poor, why Strandfontein? Why not Fish Hoek’s own sportsground? Why not Hartleyvale? Why not Cape Town stadium. Why not Meadowridge sportsground?
This appears to be nothing more than an exercise along apartheid spatial lines.
And here’s another question….
Is Community Safety MEC Bertie Fritz happy that the SAPS, over which he has a watching brief, is being used to hunt down homeless people on beaches and wetlands?
And another thing: more than 50 of the homeless people who have been coerced into Strandfontein, were rounded up in Simon’s Town.
Let us not forget the Group Areas history of Simon’s Town.
A few years ago, when the ANC was running the Western Cape, a plan was announced to build housing for the middle-class in parts of Constantia.
Robin Carlisle, the DA spokesperson for Public Works, almost delivered a virgin birth when confronted with this news.
And other DA big knobs objected on the grounds that there were plans to apply to have these very parts of Constantia declared a World Heritage Site.
Well, KhoiKhoi and San people used to live there before the arrival of the Europeans, they declared.
The irony of how the indigenous people lost their land was blithely ignored by these hypocrites.
It is really time for the people of Cape Town to say ‘Stop’ and refuse to be led by their noses by people like Felicity Purchase.
If not, they will be harshly judged in the future.