Don’t use the past to ex­cuse hous­ing in­ac­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE AR­TI­CLE by Josette Cole raised more ques­tions than an­swers (Week­end Ar­gus, Au­gust 8). The first be­ing: why is she so locked in the past?

At the time of Masi­phumelele’s cre­ation, South Africa was locked in a low-grade civil war. We were gov­erned by a racially based se­curo­crat regime, and whether Cole will ad­mit it or not, she and oth­ers like her had taken a de­ci­sion to use is­sues like the squat­ters of No­ord­hoek as weapons to dis­credit the then regime.

But that was over 20 years ago. We now have a fully demo­cratic sys­tem and a con­sti­tu­tion that is glob­ally ac­knowl­edged as be­ing one of the most pro­gres­sive any­where.

More im­por­tantly, the ANC has gov­erned since 1994 and, with a few brief gaps, has ruled con­tin­u­ously in all nine prov­inces. Cou­pled to this has been a pe­riod of good eco­nomic growth and high lev­els of tax col­lec­tion, which has meant that ex­traor­di­nary amounts of money have been avail­able to th­ese prov­inces and for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

The next ques­tion Cole should there­fore be ask­ing is why peo­ple are still stream­ing to the South Penin­sula and the West­ern Cape? The sur­round­ing prov­inces re­ceive, per capita, con­sid­er­ably more money than the West- ern Cape and yet noth­ing seems to work there, in­clud­ing schools, hos­pi­tals and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Why is this?

The last ques­tion Cole should be ask­ing is: why is a duly elected pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tive, like my­self, in­sist­ing on up­hold­ing the rule of law?

Is she im­ply­ing that any per­son with a griev­ance is en­ti­tled to break the law by in­cite­ment, in­tim­i­da­tion, land in­va­sions, tres­pass­ing and the de­struc­tion of prop­erty?

Is she also say­ing that the long­stand­ing hous­ing con­cerns of Ocean View, the Red Hill in­for­mal set­tle­ment, the land claims of Luy­ola Town- ship in Si­mon’s Town and oth­ers in the im­me­di­ate area, are to be pushed aside for new ar­rivals of Masi­phumelele? They too have rights and many are also in dire poverty.

When Cole be­gins to an­swer some of th­ese ques­tions, then we can de­bate the is­sues. Un­til then I would sug­gest she leave those who are pre­pared to stand up and do some­thing alone, and not try to use the past as an ex­cuse to do noth­ing.

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