Ses'khona threatening disruption in the CBD tomorrow
Media statement by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape
We have heard reports that Ses’khona is planning to stage a sit-in tomorrow, 26 March, outside the provincial legislature. They have made this threat because they claim that the Western Cape Government has not responded to their memorandums handed over during previous marches to the legislature.
This is not true.
Since 2013, the Western Cape Government has constantly tried to engage with the organisation in order to address their concerns despite the fact that they have continuously broken the law during their protest action. Our interactions with the organisation’s leaders, namely Loyiso Nkohla and Andile Lili have also been conducted in good faith but the same cannot be said for them.
When they first marched to the legislature in September 2013 under the banner of Ogobityholo Base Kapa (which was eventually replaced with Ses’khona), Human Settlements Minister, Bonginkosi Madikizela accepted their memorandum. However, the contents of the memorandum was extremely vague so he requested that the leaders provide details of complaints on specific areas or housing projects, which he could respond to. He then had to send numerous follow up requests as they failed to send this information.
Finally, after numerous requests for more information on their complaints, Loyiso Nkohla sent an email to Minister Madikizela asking for details regarding the provincial department’s budget, land availability, and plans for the upgrading of various informal settlements in the City of Cape Town. In response, Minister Madikizela immediately arranged a meeting with Ses’khona leaders and other stakeholders, including officials from the City of Cape Town where we presented the information they requested in greater detail (the presentation made by Minister Madikizela is attached).
Minister Madikizela also explained the housing allocating process through the City of Cape Town’s housing demand database and provided details on the housing opportunities that had been delivered since 2009, and how much had been spent on these projects. Finally, he outlined some of the challenges faced in housing delivery including: community resistance, limited land for relocation, and ongoing contestation for houses.
Despite providing this detailed report back at the meeting and indicating his willingness to engage with Ses’khona, its leadership chose to grandstand instead and disrupted the meeting.
Since then, Ses’khona leaders have piggybacked on marches by other organisations, which is largely due to the fact that they were prevented from holding marches themselves due to the violent nature of their previous protests, which resulted in widespread looting. As a result the memorandums submitted at these marches have not be in the name of Ses’khona.
Many of these marches have been purported to address “service delivery” issues, that fall within the City of Cape Town’s competencies, which is why we have forwarded these memorandums to the City for their response.
The fact is that all complaints and demands received directly from Ses’khona and, which fall within the competency of the Western Cape Government have been responded to. Any matters relating to the City of Cape Town have been referred to the City for their response. We have also made this distinction between the two spheres of government clear to Ses’khona on a number of occasions.
Despite the Western Cape Government’s efforts to engage with Ses’khona in good faith, the organisation, by its own admission, is determined to make this province ungovernable and are supported by the ANC. This is why they disrupted our meeting with them and have refused to work with us to improve service delivery in communities.
Tomorrow’s march, is just their latest grandstanding attempt. If they truly cared about the plight of citizens living in informal settlements they would have agreed to work with us when tried to engage with them in 2013.
Previous marches by Ses’khona have resulted in violence and looting, we therefore urge shop owners, drivers and pedestrians in the CBD to remain vigilant tomorrow.
We also call on the police to have an action plan in place to deal with any protestors who become violent and break the law.
The Western Cape Government continues to work tirelessly to provide services which people cannot provide for themselves and we remain committed to doing so despite groups like Ses’khona who are hellbent on making this province ungovernable in order to further their own political agendas.