Minister of Human Settlements
Western Cape Government
The Western Cape Government respects the right of any individual or group to march, and to raise issues of legitimate concern with the relevant government authorities. However, it also incumbent upon the groups to provide details of their concerns, in order that government may respond appropriately.
On the 10th of October, a group called Ogobityholo Base Kapa, marched to the Provincial Legislature and handed over a memorandum, which I accepted on behalf of the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille. I requested that more information be provided regarding the concerns raised for each informal settlement so that my department could establish what plans are in place for these areas and report back to the group. The group undertook to submit a revised memorandum that contained specific complaints to my office within a few days and this was publicly reported by the mainstream media, who were present to witness this agreement. However, my office has yet to receive anything from Ogobithhola Base Kapa.
It is therefore concerning to note that the same group is planning to march again tomorrow, 30th of October, claiming that they have not received a response from my department. I made it clear to them that we cannot respond to vague statements and complaints but need far more detail from them if they want a proper response from our government.
I understand that some marchers have genuine grievances, which my department is committed to addressing but we cannot have a situation where political agendas detracts from these real issues. The fact that the leaders of the previous march have failed to submit a more detailed memorandum to my office, despite undertaking to do this, and have instead made threats to “shut down the CBD” suggests that this march is nothing more than political grandstanding, which undermines the legitimate frustrations in communities. I will therefore not engage with the group until the leaders of Ogobithhola Base Kapa show that they are acting in good faith and submit the more detailed memorandum, as promised.