Ef­flu­ent so­ci­ety gears up for the hol­i­days

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

CAPE Town’s end-of-year loot­ing sea­son got off to a ro­bust start on Wed­nes­day, as rul­ing party sup­port­ers helped them­selves to goods from CBD street ven­dors whose stalls they trashed and van­dalised.

Items that flew off the shelves in­cluded top fash­ion knock- offs by Nikke, Ad­did­das, Louise Vi­tonn and other lead­ing Fong Kong la­bels as the hip fire­brands “geared up” for the hol­i­days.

Those who missed the free-for-all needn’t worry – de­fi­ant poo fight­ers, as we now re­fer to them, have promised an even larger beano later this month with at least 250 00 marchers. Re­tail­ers, take note: Novem­ber 29, it’s go­ing to be a Kwan­zaa bo­nanza.

Andile Lili, the for­mer ANC city coun­cil­lor who is now lit­er­ally the city’s chief shit-stir­rer, has warned that the protest would go ahead with or with­out per­mis­sion from the au­thor­i­ties, and there would be fun and games for all – al­though per­haps not for the Western Cape pre­mier.

Lili told the Cape Times that he was “very an­gry” with He­len Zille and that she should be care­ful when en­ter­ing in­for­mal set­tle­ments around the city.

“All of them (shack dwellers) must at­tack He­len Zille wher­ever she goes. He­len Zille knows there is a cri­sis. But she does not re­spond.” The lack of re­sponse, Lili added, meant she was re­spon­si­ble for the chaos. Still, he had good news for the DA leader. “We don’t hate He­len Zille as a per­son,” he said. “We hate her for her ac­tions.”

The city in­tends su­ing for dam­ages. Le­gal ac­tion is to be taken against var­i­ous poo fight­ers in their per­sonal ca­pac­ity. This in­cludes Lili and – if we may put it this way – his num­ber two, ANC coun­cil­lor Loy­iso Nkohla.

In this re­gard, the mayor, Pa­tri­cia de Lille, has urged ven­dors whose busi­nesses were trashed to press charges against Lili, Nkohla and oth­ers, adding that the city would as­sist with the pro­vi­sion of CCTV footage to help iden­tify per­pe­tra­tors.

“No­body is above the law,” she said. “The ex­pres­sion of our con­sti­tu­tional rights should not be used as a tool to launch il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.”

While we agree in prin­ci­ple with the sen­ti­ment, here at the Ma­hogany Ridge we’re not al­to­gether con­vinced that the cus­tomer re­la­tions depart­ment – or what­ever they call the charge of­fice th­ese days – at Cale­don Square is soon to be swamped by ag­grieved Con­golese traders de­mand­ing jus­tice.

Call us bluff old cyn­ics, but we are of the opin­ion that for­eign­ers, es­pe­cially those who trade here, do not have all that much con­fi­dence in the po­lice. Re­gret­table, I know, but there it is.

This is not to sug­gest that noth­ing is been done about the mat­ter. Far from it. There has been ul­tra-rapid blame-shift­ing. Mar­ius Frans­man, ANC Western Cape leader and deputy min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co-op­er­a­tion, has said it was “mostly” mem­bers of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers who caused all the trou­ble. De­nounc­ing the loot­ing and at­tacks on by­standers, he added: “The ANC calls on all youth to re­main dis­ci­plined and not be dragged into anarchy by a few peo­ple with red berets.”

As an aside, I should add that Frans­man has been the cause of much mirth here at the Ridge since he an­nounced he wanted to take on Zille for the premier­ship next year. He was asked if this was quite a risk, as he could end up as op­po­si­tion leader in the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture in­stead of a cab­i­net min­is­ter. “No and yes,” he replied. “But you know, I’m a man who likes to gam­ble.” And who likes to an­swer a di­rect ques­tion with a di­rect an­swer.

But back to the loot­ing. Ivan Meyer, the DA’s Western Cape leader, promptly dis­missed Frans­man’s claims about the EFF. “It is ob­vi­ous for all to see that the march was planned, or­gan­ised and led by the ANC,” he said.

Meyer also noted that Nkohla was “widely quoted ( in the Daily Sun) en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to loot the Cape Town CBD”, and has duly laid a charge of pub­lic vi­o­lence against him.

Nkohla, in turn, has de­clared, rather hol­lowly, that he will now sue the Daily Sun for defama­tion. What’s far more likely is that, like Lili, Nkohla could soon be an ex-coun­cil­lor.

He bunked a coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, and sent a sick note to ex­cuse him­self. But as news of the may­hem reached the coun­cil cham­ber so, too, did so­cial me­dia video footage. De Lille and oth­ers were able to see for them­selves how Nkohla was spend­ing the day in bed.

He has al­ready been sus­pended from the ANC for poo-fight­ing. With more time on his hands – not to men­tion the brown stuff – Nko­lah could get up to no end of kak. We have been warned.

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