Cape Times – November 08, 2010 Edition 1 – Quinton Mtyala
THE ANC’s chances of retaking the City of Cape Town at next year’s local government elections have taken a knock after Abahlali baseMjondolo rebuffed ANC You`th League overtures.
The shack people’s movement has been behind service protests in Khayelitsha, |but insists its members have not acted violently but disruptively.The movement’s Western Cape leader, Mzonki Poni, said that after the eruption of protests in September he was approached by the league’s Loyiso Nkohla, who called for the City of Cape Town to be made “ungovernable” in the wake of the Makhaza open toilet scandal.
“We’ve been approached by the youth league, but we refused to work with them. They’re pushing a different agenda to ours,” Poni said.
For the ANC to retake Cape Town from the DA it would need majority support in Khayelitsha, the city’s largest township with close to 750 000 residents.
But the movement has vowed it would boycott and disrupt next year’s local government elections, saying political parties, particularly the ANC, viewed shack dwellers as voting cattle.
Nkohla denied wanting to co-opt Poni, saying the league had hoped to “reach out” to them since no ANC ward councillors would meet Abahlali.
“After the TAC, SJC and Cosatu accused them of working with elements of the youth league, I called him to clarify the situation and see if we could work together.”
This followed the stoning of buses and burning barricades being placed on thoroughfares passing informal settlements.
Nkohla denied the league was behind violence in TR-Section, from where residents had been promised they would be moved. Poni insists Abahlali baseMjondolo, which is active in 15 Cape Town communities, will not be used as a tool by political parties hoping to show up their opponents.
“We’re not going on to the streets to disrupt the DA-run city council, or saying that if the ANC takes over Cape Town things will change for us.”
He said Abahlali’s recent protests were intended to bring development closer to people.
“We’re challenging undemocratic government policies and a top-down approach from those in power,” Poni said.
Martin Legassick of the Anti-Eviction Campaign said ANC councillors showed no solidarity with poor constituents.
Legassick was kicked out of the exiled ANC in 1985 after being suspended in 1979 for being “factionalist”.
“Ward councillors in Cape Town earn R27 000 a month. That separates them from ordinary people. The ANC has a contempt for ordinary people,” he said.
Justin Sylvester, a political researcher at Idasa, said that, although Abahlali baseMjondolo claimed to have no political ambitions, it was an alternative to the ANC.