Bonginkosi Madikizela MPP
Western Cape Government Minister of Human Settlements
There were a number of inaccuracies in the Cape Times article on 18 Feb 2014, entitled “MEC chased at housing handover”. The headline, and the article, creates the impression that my safety was at risk, and I had to run away, yet this was never the case and so I would like to set the record straight.
The Saldanha Bay Municipality had booked a hall in George Kerridge to be used for a housing handover ceremony, which I was invited to attend. However, when we arrived at the hall it was occupied by local ANC members who were hoping to antagonize us. It was meant to be a day of celebration for the beneficiaries receiving houses, and so we decided not to make an issue of who was entitled to be in the hall and create a disturbance and instead decided to hold the event outside the completed houses. We did not need the hall to do our most important work, which was handing over houses to community members.
I made the point very clear to all at the handover, that we will not allow government events to be politicized, and used by political parties to bring attention to themselves and engage in political grandstanding. I also would not allow the beneficiaries to receive houses while wearing ANC t-shirts, as these beneficiaries were being used by the local ANC to serve their own party political agenda. It was also clear during the handover yesterday in Delft Precinct 3 and 5 yesterday of 1951 houses built with Alternate Building Technology, that the ANC and its leaders are intent on using government events and resources for political campaigning.
After we had handed over the houses in Saldanha, a group of ANC members came across from the nearby hall to engage with me. I responded to many of their questions, and we had a spirited debate over local housing issues.
When it became clear that the discussions were going nowhere, and in addition, I was running late for another engagement, I made a decision to leave. As is customary with any of my public visits, I am always escorted by Police. There was no violence and I never felt at risk, I could have stayed longer, yet I left of my own accord and not because anyone chased me away or because I felt threatened.
What is a threat to our democracy, however, is the ANC’s continuous blurring of the boundaries between party and state and their attempts to try and prevent opposition parties who are in government from doing their work. The ANC needs to start showing respect for the rights that are enshrined in our Constitution.