OPINIONISTA

Faiez Jacobs: Mashaba’s ‘another country’ judgement of Cape Town is spot-on

The Western Cape is not a safe and comfortable place for black people. We’re glad that DA Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba agrees with us that being black in the Western Cape is like being black in the old South Africa.

When we talk about how bad the DA has been for the Western Cape, our message is often dismissed as sour grapes, and our criticism is slammed as the ANC trying to retell the same old story.

Despite being dissed by the DA troll army whenever we honed in on the DA’s failures, gaffes and shortcomings, we did not keep quiet as Premier Helen Zille or DA Western Cape leader Bonginkozi Madikizela wished us to do.

We kept on speaking truth to power, never expecting a powerful voice in the DA to agree with us. Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba recently tweeted disparaging remarks about Cape Town. He did not withdraw them. He did not have to because he was spot on.

He tweeted about a week ago:

I have just spent my second night in Cape Town for the DA Federal Council meeting. I am embarrassed to be in the same city in South Africa, run by the DA, like I am in another country as compared to all other cities throughout SA.”

We agree with him that the Western Cape is not a safe and comfortable place for black people. We’re glad that a DA high-flyer agrees with us that being black in the Western Cape is like being black in the old South Africa.

We also know that Mashaba, like Patrica de Lille before him, will be slapped with a disciplinary hearing because he is a black who is refusing to play a subservient role and kowtow to his masters.

In Cape Town and the Western Cape, Mashaba’s sentiments encapsulate the daily experience of Africans, coloureds and Indians, and even visitors who are not white. This is not a province where blacks feel that they are part of democratic South Africa.

When we governed the Western Cape, the ANC, painfully aware of apartheid’s psychological scars, brought an intervention titled “Home For All”. This was a bold policy, saying that all South Africans were welcome and could call the Western Cape home. Zille undid this. I believe that this is one of the biggest blows she gave the Western Cape. Her arrogance damaged race relations. It will take years to repair the damage.

Premier Zille has made much of her role in the struggle and how she once opened up her home to give refuge to those who were trying to stay out of the hands of the security police in the country known as the old South Africa. That was then.

What about now? In the new South Africa, she became bitter and has nothing good to say about the ANC. She hardened her heart and set her administration’s granite-like face against the poor.

Under her premiership, the DA government in the Western Cape was cold-blooded in the brutal manner with which it dismantled and destroyed the pro-poor programmes launched, and policies followed, by the last ANC-led provincial government.

There was no need to do this, but for Zille and her white male-dominated executive Cape Flats “wie’s baas” mentality. And who suffers the consequences of this baasskap mentality? Millions of poor black people are worse off than they were when the DA began governing the Western Cape.

Crime, too, has been ravaging black communities. I have personal experience of this. My mother has been shot at. I have helped to bury relatives who have been violently killed. I have family members who have fallen victim to the drug epidemic that is gripping the Cape Flats. For me, crime is not talking about what happened to other people, it’s about what happened to people I love.

Zille’s Twitter addiction has led to her showing her true colours on occasion. She has riled many with her fawning remarks about the benefits of colonialism. In praising the benefits of a system that wanted to enslave blacks, she never once mentioned that the indigenous people did not invite the colonialists to South Africa.

It is this kind of thinking that convinces us Zille lives in a make-believe world where she alone is the boss. In this world, she contemptuously refers to fellow South Africans who move from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape as refugees.

What has life been like for the ANC in the Western Cape Legislature? This is what acting ANC Western Cape chairperson Khaya Magaxa said this week:

We had a ruling party that was intolerant of the opposition. They treated us as if we were insignificant. They ill-treated us. Being suffocated by Zille and the DA was bad.”

We do not have loving memories of a Premier who thought she was Margaret Thatcher. We want to wish Zille well and also good riddance. We are happy to see the back of her because she and her government do not care for our people. Right now our communities are gatvol.

Just to give her an idea of how fed-up people are with her, we’re redirecting this “gatvolness” to Wale Street on Friday (15 February, 2019) when we will present the real State of the Province in front of the Western Cape Legislature. We want Zille to see how angry our people are with her serious delivery deficit and her party’s racism.

It is this fury and the hunger for change that will hit the DA in the Western Cape. Our communities are tired of empty promises and being treated as cannon fodder during elections.

The Zille factor that used to seduce voters is waning. The 8 May election will be the day of reckoning for the DA. We are ready to govern the Western Cape in the interest of all our communities. And we pledge that once we govern, Herman Mashaba will feel welcome here and also bring his family along on visits. DM

Faiez Jacobs is the ANC secretary in the Western Cape.

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