It’s time to lay to rest a myth planted by the DA in the Western Cape more than a decade ago….
It claims it is responsible for turning the City of Cape Town into paradise on earth.
It’s rubbish, of course.
Cape Town is no nirvana for most of its residents. It is a city that fits snugly into a description often used by aunties and uncles in our townships – ‘bo bont, maar onner stront’.
The DA has done what the National Party did for – or should it be to – the majority of residents in the City during apartheid … what the New National party did after apartheid … What the alliance of ANC and NNP did in 2004 …and what the ANC did up to 2009 – sweet fuck-all.
What the DA inherited after it kicked out the ANC in 2009 was a province in which spatial apartheid was a way of life.
It should not be forgotten that every suburb worth living in in the southern suburbs was declared a white Group Area by the National Party, while coloured and African residents of these areas were kicked off to soulless townships – and in the case of many African people to the Eastern Cape.
Perhaps this is the reason so many people who regard the DA as its crutch see merit (without saying it in so many words) in a form of influx control for Africans.
Since it came to power in the province, the DA, and especially its local government arm that runs the City of Cape Town, would find it difficult to defend itself against accusations that it runs South Africa’s oldest City using methods that could easily be described as ‘apartheid by stealth.’
For instance, let’s not forget this…
• It ran a ‘facility’ that many described as a concentration camp for homeless people at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Strandfontein, far enough away from the lush, green, and predominantly white suburbs.
• It had one of its senior councillors, Felicity Purchase, her WhatsApp ap at the ready, scurrying around with police and City law enforcement, among alleys, beaches and, even, wetlands in the far south of the peninsula, in search of homeless people.
• During inclement weather, especially, it regularly sends its forces of law and order to places where the homeless have been living, driving them out and confiscating their meagre possessions.
• It has passed a by-law making it a criminal offence to be homeless in the City Centre. This is not unlike the National Party, driving ‘surplus’ black people far away from white residential areas and businesses, during the height of apartheid.
• This by-law has also made it an offence for the Muslim call to prayer for being too loud
• It has responded hysterically to calls that some of the golf courses it owns, and which it rents to clubs for a nominal annual rental, be shut down and used to build affordable housing, which is a dire need in the City. Indeed, it has blocked every effort to tackle the problem of spatial apartheid.
These are just six areas in which the DA has let down the majority of people in the City – badly. There are more
Still, it seems likely the DA will again win Cape Town in the local government elections – for two sad reasons….
First, as was the case during apartheid, majority of white residents will be more than happy with the cushy existence that their party has created for them, to give it another vote of confidence.
But it’s a short-sighted view that will not – cannot – last forever. They should just ask the former Nats in their party.
Second, even though the majority of coloured people in the townships live in conditions of dire poverty, they too have continued to vote for the DA – even though the DA has done nothing to improve their lives, beyond occasionally sprucing up the council flats with a new coat of pink paint.
Sadly, far too many coloured people still have an ‘inboekseling’ attitude.
It’s up to the other parties – and independents – to convince this section of the voting public that they deserve better.
But can they?