Western Cape ‘let ANC down’

Man­tashe on charm cam­paign to win hearts and minds in prov­ince

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HEN­RIËTTE GELDEN­HUYS and SOY­ISO MAL­ITI

THE ANC felt let down by the peo­ple of the Western Cape, which has never tasted a free South Africa since 1994, ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said dur­ing a round-ta­ble dis­cus­sion in Cape Town.

Even when the ANC was in power in the prov­ince, it “was a stokvel. It had to form a coali­tion” to gov­ern, Man­tashe told the au­di­ence of about 30 peo­ple, which in­cluded mem­bers of the Gri­qua royal house and sev­eral min­strels groups who gath­ered at the Pep­per Club in Loop Street yes­ter­day.

ANC re­gional chair­man Mar­ius Frans­man re­ferred to the fact that the ANC won 33 per­cent of the votes in the prov­ince in the 1994 elec­tion, 42 per­cent in 1999, 45 per­cent in 2004 and 32 per­cent in 2009.

Man­tashe said: “We say: ‘ The peo­ple of the Western Cape let the ANC down af­ter 1994.’

“The only out­post we must work on is the Western Cape. That’s the re­al­ity. We won’t deny it. We ask: What more can we do?’

“The Western Cape must taste that free­dom and take a de­ci­sion about what they want to do with it.”

Man­tashe listed some of the rea­sons why he be­lieved peo­ple in the Western Cape should vote for the ANC.

He said the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct ( GDP) had grown three-fold over the past 20 years un­der the ANC.

Also, ed­u­ca­tion has been “equalised”. Whereas un­der apartheid, whites had the best ed­u­ca­tion, chil­dren of all races now “have the same fund­ing as a white child un­der apartheid”, said Man­tashe.

An­other plus point was that only 150 000 black peo­ple had ac­cess to uni­ver­si­ties in 1994, com­pared with 750 000 to­day.

And, 39 per­cent of South Africans had ac­cess to elec­tric­ity in 1994 com­pared with 84 per­cent now.

“We have done what we should. We do it when peo­ple love us and we do it when peo­ple don’t like us. Our com­mit­ment to the cause is much big­ger than what peo­ple imag­ine,” said Man­tashe.

Some peo­ple in the au­di­ence wanted to know whether to re­fer to them­selves as “coloured” or “black”.

Dr Christa van Louw from Som­er­set-West said she hated the term “coloured” and had al­ways viewed her­self as black and Afrikaans-speak­ing.

But oth­ers, in­clud­ing Peter Marais from the Bruin Bemagtig­ings Beweg­ing (BBB) and An­dré Ja­cobs from the Na­tion­al­ist Coloured Party, dis­agreed.

Marais said: “A lot of peo­ple say: ‘I’m not coloured’, but they don’t de­fine who they are. Selfi­den­ti­fi­ca­tion is a right. Even the equal­ity law speaks of coloureds.”

Ja­cobs said: “It’s been a long time since coloured peo­ple stood up and con­tested elec­tions. We have been left out for too long. Coloureds rep­re­sent 10 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. We would like coloured peo­ple to play a more im­por­tant role.”

For­mer United Demo­cratic Front (UDF) ac­tivist Shahieda Is­sel, ex-wife of Johnny Is­sel, a found­ing mem­ber of the UDF, who died in Jan­uary 2011, said: “We were very proud to be part of the ANC in the 1970s, be­ing coloured. So I’m very proud to say we as coloured peo­ple helped to bring this coun­try to its knees. We played a mas­sive role as coloured peo­ple and I don’t see that re­flected in our his­tory books.”

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Man­tashe took a swipe at op­po­si­tion par- ties while in Gugulethu to ad­dress ser­vice de­liv­ery is­sues.

“On av­er­age, we used to build at least 20 000 houses a year un­der (for­mer premier) Ebrahim Ra­sool, but ever since th­ese girls with the white short skirts came into power, the Western Cape no longer pro­duces the same amount,” said Man­tashe. “Black and coloured peo­ple were to­gether in the strug­gle, and we should con­tinue to be in unity.”

Man­tashe also spoke about the por­taloo is­sue. “In Mfu­leni (on Fri­day), I said if the ANC branches don’t lead the peo­ple, they will throw (fae­ces) ev­ery­where be­cause branches rep­re­sent­ing the ANC are ab­sent.”

“There’s a back­log of houses too… we have to be a part of the so­lu­tion.”

Urg­ing branches to step up, Man­tashe said the ANC needed a “uni­fied pro­gramme”.

“The black pop­u­la­tion is up by 4 per­cent in the prov­ince and we need to get those vot­ers. Let’s mo­bilise them.” hen­ri­ette.gelden­huys

@inl.co.za soy­iso.mal­iti@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: THOMAS HOLDER

ELEC­TION TALK: The ANC’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Gwede Man­tashe, is greeted by res­i­dents af­ter he ad­dressed a pub­lic meet­ing at the Luy­olo cen­tre in Gugulethu yes­ter­day. Man­tashe said black and coloured peo­ple should con­tinue to be in unity.

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