ANC leads march against DA-led city’s ‘failure to deliver’

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By MATT MEDVED, ZARA NICHOLSON and MURRAY WILLIAMSpage_6562719

More than a thousand ANC supporters gathered in the city earlier today for a march against the DA-led city council’s failure to deliver basic services.

Protesters, many of whom had arrived on a dozen Golden Arrow buses, carried banners slamming DA policies around evictions, water cuts and high rates, which the ANC said were aimed at poor communities.

Marchers moved down Keizersgracht shouting “Viva, ANC, Viva” and “Away, Zille, Away”.

Representatives from community organisations, Cosatu, SA National Civic Organisation and the SA Communist Party all took part in the march.

ANC chairman for the standing committee on finance and economic affairs Garth Strachan said the marchers were intent on handing over a memorandum to mayor and DA leader Helen Zille’s office at the civic centre.

The memorandum stated that the DA election manifesto had promised to address the problems of housing, unemployment, poor services and high tariffs for service charges

“Instead under the DA rule, the city has issued 455 000 pink letters threatening to cut off water and electricity supplies, mainly to poor families and evict the same families from their homes,” the memorandum stated.

Magwaza Zodwa of the ANC Women’s League said: “We are here because of the water cuts and the pink letters that Zille gave our people.

“It’s the poorest of the poor being affected,” she said.

“This is about service delivery and the DA has made empty promises.”

But Zille has accused the ANC of inciting an anti-city protest by propagating lies.

“I’ve received repeated reports today that the ANC is mobilising people on the basis of completely false information,” Zille said.

“I’ve received a report from the Nyanga area saying the ANC is going around with loud hailers saying water is going to be cut off for two weeks, and in other areas that we’re going to remove people and break down their shacks. They’re inventing stories … It’s complete and utter lies.

“I’ve also seen a copy of their pamphlet, and it’s one untruth after the other,” she said.

“It’s an indication of how desperate the ANC is and how they will do anything to return to the policy of mass resistance, rather than work through the structures and procedures of the council.

“Last night they tipped out dustbins in Khayelitsha so they could claim that there’s no service delivery there,” Zille continued. “But it’s complete and utter lies. Everyone in Khayelitsha will tell you how much cleaner it is since we’ve taken over.”

But Heinz Park resident Patricia Pekeur, 62, said she had joined the protest because the city had raised her rates and had cut her water.

While Patrick Lunguza from Khayelitsha lamented the fact that all the graveyards in township areas were full, while cemeteries in white areas were too expensive.

“Where can we bury our dead if the city does not respect our people?” Lunguza said.

Earlier DA provincial leader Theuns Botha blasted the planned protest as “unnecessary”.

“The ANC should rather spend its energy and efforts towards improving standards of governance and service delivery in the few municipalities it still governs,” he said.

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~ by Matt Medved on May 16, 2007.

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