Zille’s plan was to discredit
YOUR editorial, “How low can you go” (November 2), does a disservice to the role of the fourth estate in a developing democracy in dispassionately and accurately judging events.
In attempting to say all good is done by the DA of Helen Zille, it failed to present a clear and precise analysis of the Western Cape, which has been divided and polarised by DA policies.
Instead of examining the ANC’s programme, it rushed to the conclusion that ANC rule in the Western Cape would equate with chaos and therefore the electorate cannot trust us with its vote. This stereotypical inference is shocking and worrisome, considering that the ANC expects fair and equal coverage in the run-up to next year’s elections.
We are unashamed in our conviction that any elections platform that is credible and seeks to unite the people of the Western Cape must focus on uniting African and coloured working people, especially the rural and urban poor; better service delivery; creating jobs by partnering with business and trade unions to form a social pact for growth and opportunity for small businesses, and black business more particularly; and building positive relationships with national govern- ment to grow the Western Cape for all its people, especially the poor.
The events over which the editorial cries foul are not without context. It is clear from the use of words such as “baiting” and “Mafia shakedown” that the editorial sought to demolish the ANC. If this is anything to go by, then the ANC in the Western Cape is in for a torrid time at the hands of the editorial team in the coming months.
The ANC is proud of its longstanding tradition of protest politics. Our own supporters protest peacefully in provinces where we govern. Wednesday, October 30, was no different. What we do oppose and condemn is the use of violence and looting.
But the more fundamental question we should all be asking Premier Zille is why the DA has closed the space for people to debate and engage with MECs, heads of department and so on. Wednesday’s event was a direct consequence of non-engagement with local communities by Zille’s government. Denying people a platform will result in their creating their own platforms of debate and protest.
The events last Thursday in Saldanha, again, require deeper analysis.
National government has driven the concept of free trade zones, industrial development zones (IDZs) and so on, aimed at creating a massive industrialisation catalyst for both local and international investment.
National government has the prerogative to determine the agenda and speakers’ list at such events. As deputy minister of international relations, I have constantly punted the Western Cape as a desirable investment destination. When asked by Minister (Rob) Davies to chair the launch, I relished the opportunity, not least because of my understanding of and long association with the region.
Equally, the Department of Inter- national Relations is a key support department in the IDZ programme.
Premier Zille was invited, but made it her intention to discredit the event from the moment she set foot in the marquee. Her prepared speech was flung aside; her notes, which she left behind, bear testimony to her objective. She only embarrassed herself. If she had maintained her decorum, the event would have passed without incident – but, no, Zille had to create a crisis to deflect attention from the work of national government and the opportunity it presents to the people of the Western Cape.
Zille claims victory for all the good and blames her failures on the government. This deception might go down well with the few, but the majority have seen through her stunts and PR theatrics – big on talk and thin on delivery for the poor.
We look forward to a robust election campaign. We only hope this newspaper will rid itself of the title of torchbearer for Madam Zille and her vision of an exclusive Western Cape for the privileged, mainly white, few.