Western Cape ‘let ANC down’
Mantashe on charm campaign to win hearts and minds in province
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
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.