Don’t use the past to excuse housing inaction
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.