Democratic contestation in the Western Cape has reached a new low

The WC has always been the most hotly contested province in South Africa.  Government has changed hands legitimately through the ballot box and through less democratic means including through the walk over period, instances of buying loyalty and membership through offers of cars and houses, lock-ups, lock-outs, and threats and attacks of political opponents.

But democratic contestation in the WC has reached a new low in the last week with many ANC party members and supporters throwing human excrement on the steps of the Western Cape Parliament and various other buildings.  These actions are illegal and violate  related Constitutional and Bill of Rights provisions.

Without doubt or reservation, this is disgusting, it is a massive health hazard and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The ACDP certainly does.

It may have been aimed at the Premier and the Provincial government, but these acts have affected all Members in this house, our staff, the officials and even all visitors – local, national and international, bringing great disgust, embarrassment and surely affecting the Western Capes reputation amongst international visitors and investors alike.

These acts cannot be downplayed as “Poo wars” as some politicians and some in the media have done.  The fact is that human excrement has been used and all of us, including the media should tell it like it is.

Albeit only some amongst them, the reality is that the ANC has played a role in this regard, both causing it, and even quietly condoning it through their silence and inaction.  This speaks volumes about the quality of ANC leadership who seem unable to control their members and unwilling to discipline them.  It is also a demonstration of continued in-fighting amongst the alliance – further testament of poor leadership.

The ACDP replies by welcoming national cabinets statement of condemnation but this should have been made far sooner and far more decisively. We agree with cabinet, and demand that authorities act speedily and decisively.

The ACDP deplores the continued use of, and reliance on the bucket system in our informal communities – 19 years since our first democratic elections in 1994.  We believe that the portaloo solution is inadequate, too little too late, and unsustainable in the long term, albeit that it provides some short term relief to affected communities – if the ANC would stop their campaign to prevent this form of service delivery.

Discontent regarding insufficient and improper sanitation facilities in informal communities has rightly been brewing for years, yet remains far too low on governments list of priorities and expenditure has not kept up with demand and our peoples basic sanitation needs.  The people in the Western Cape, including successive ANC and DA governments, drive on the N2 (for example) where residents can be seen relieving themselves in full view of motorists and each other.  Simply put, not enough is being done to address this basic human need within our informal communities.  The measure of government performance should not simplistically be “performance compared to other provinces” but rather the extent to which government has met the related needs and upheld the rights of all our people in the Western Cape.

The ACDP calls on the ANC to discipline their members and supporters involved in these acts, and we call on all protestors to pursue peaceful, democratic means of raising their discontent with government’s service delivery – that respects, protects fellow humanity, builds community cohesion rather than destroying it, and that recognises each persons rights.

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