The biggest failure of most political platforms, forums and social media is that commentators mostly post hateful comments under false names. It is rare for them to address the content of an article. Instead, they attack the writer according to their political beliefs or racial status. This runs parallel to the increasing hatred in South Africa.
Riots and crime continue to rise. In towns such as ours, where as much as half of the population is unemployed, a fact that the majority of politicians have ignored in lieu of bickering and ambitions of power, there will be a breaking point! If this New Apartheid is allowed to continue, i fear for our country and our lives.
As i’ve stated previously, i fear that Plett (Bitou Municipality) could be the tinderbox that inflames our country. In a Knysna context, they are our next door neighbour. Only 30km away, the repeated riots on the N2 and in the industrial area were mostly absent from conversation in Knysna unless mentioned in an offhanded manner akin to the weather. Knysna ignored and next time the riots were in Kranshoek, only 20km away.
At Politics Web, the largest resource for political commentary, the ANC’s Kenny Leluma posted a statement whose content was ignored because idiots and haters believe personal and party affiliation attacks are more important. I post it here to help spread debate. I’m not siding with the ANC (i am independent) but i can side with many of the facts. It deserves a read. The DA has been highly dishonest in both Knysna and Plett.
Kenny Leluma, the former political advisor to the executive mayor of Bitou, responds to David Christianson’s critique of the ANC’s management of the municipality.
The DA lied their way into office and uses lies to remain in power.
The problem with a lie is that it eats that fabric that makes one a human, the soul. A person who repeatedly lies become a soulless animal with predatory instincts, and devours everything and anything that smells of truth. The DA has become soulless as to them lying has become first nature.
The problem, though, is that except from some in the ANC, nobody wants to expose the DA lies, instead the party is portrayed as saints. This artificial elevation drives the party. It was for that reason that I was not surprised that David Christianson collected press statements and flagrantly biased newspaper articles and calls that exercise “research” that purportedly shows how badly the ANC ran Bitou Local Municipality (see here).
What Christianson hoped for was that some mainstream newspaper editor would remember him as an award-winning journalist and use his claptrap to rubbish the ANC as has been the norm. He might succeed in that, after all he is a heavyweight in the media and he comes from the party which in many editors’ minds is an example of good governance. He is likely to get a boost from some mainstream newspapers without giving us the right to respond, but we shall not surrender on the altar of cowardice.
Christianson asks, “why Bitou”, and goes on to give a flimsy if not dishonest reasons for picking up on Bitou. The truth is that there are at least two reasons why the DA has picked up Bitou for their consistent lies.
Before I come to those reasons, it is important to correct misinformation that the ANC was in charge of Bitou for 16 or 17 years. The ANC was in charge of Bitou since 2000. Now back to why the DA chose Bitou –
First, Bitou under the ANC was a model of good governance and excellent service delivery. The ANC council that was voted into office in 2006 delivered four consecutive clean audits. That is a hard pill to swallow for the DA.
To make matters worse, there was never service delivery riots in the town as the ANC delivered houses, provided the people with clean water (the water quality achieved three consecutive blue drop status, and was rated 3rd best quality in the country after Joburg and Cape Town and we were about to eclipsed Cape Town on our way to challenge Joburg), provided reliable electricity to all residents, built roads and streets in each of the townships, undertook one of the biggest project, Coming Together, in the town that would see improved national and provincial service points in the town being located in the two major townships of Kwanokuthula and New Horizon.
And whenever there was inadequacy in service delivery, the mayor would go and address the relevant community. He would own up on his council’s delay in providing quality services to the community and he did that even when the DA provincial government tried to frustrate the municipality only because it was under the ANC rule.
Despite their battles with the DA provincial government, the ANC councilors never went to a single public meeting to blame the DA for any delays or failures. They were in government and accepted responsibility for government’s failure whether it came from the DA provincial government or not.
Currently, the town is experiencing service delivery protests, and the DA blames the ANC for that. They do this despite it being no secret that the leaders of these protests actively campaigned for the DA during the 2011 elections.
The DA council refuses to address these residents’ grievances. We were not really shocked when, in the presence of the media and police, (Mayor Memory) Booysen said the police must be tough on protesters and treat them “just like during the time of PW Botha”. He was echoing, Johan Brummer.
Second, the ANC Councilors in Bitou are effective opposition and exposes many irregularities by the DA. We have also found space in electronic media to express our views and respond to the DA’s ranting, which we had been denied in mainstream print media. The fact that we have exposed much corrupt behavior of DA councilors and deployees is a sore spot and this so-called research is just a DA fight back strategy.
David Christianson’s so-called research is said to have been completed in September 2011. If that is so, why wait for seven months before it is published? This is an attempt to paper the cracks within the DA caused by a myriad of wrong decisions made since the party got into power. The DA is failing the people of Bitou, from ordinary people to businesses.
Most people voted the DA primarily so that the party can ensure that the “corrupt ANC people” can be arrested and jailed. Many now regret having believed the lies that there was large-scale corruption under the ANC while service delivery suffers. The deck of deception is falling flat.
But one can’t fail to notice that COPE has just been added as an afterthought in the article. The whole thing was written to self-stroke the DA’s bruised ego. And at the last minute, someone remembered that in order to try hold to their relationship with COPE, the latter must be mentioned.
Since getting into office the DA never started to govern. All they have been doing is to go around with huge egos trying to engrave their lies in the minds and hearts of people that the ANC mismanaged the town. Maybe it’s time the DA takes to heart remarks by one of their attorneys when he advised them to “govern instead of making [themselves] look even more foolish with these unproven lies”. The same attorney remarked that the DA has reached a point where they now “believe their own lies”.
The DA can’t claim to care about the poor. The ANC council was aware that people need skills and government intervention in order to improve their lives. The ANC municipality was also aware that not everybody would be absorbed in the formal businesses. For that reason, we brought RED Door to Plett. The DA council in their very first meeting closed down RED Door amidst claims that “this is not our function”. The reason that the DA did this was to appease the Ratepayers Association which had in the past claimed to be apolitical but has since publicly thrown their weight behind the DA.
In denying the poor access to institutions that would help them start businesses, the rich’s foothold on the poor would remain as they would remain working in their houses and gardens and be manipulated to vote for the party of the boss or madam lest they lose their jobs.
Unfortunately this strategy will not bring any long-term solutions. The town needs more than shop assistants and domestic workers. The economy must be diversified and black people must play a meaningful role than just being workers. No single black person owns business in town.
It is thick of Christianson to claim that the DA stands for “open opportunity model [where things are done] in a transparent and accountable way” and that the party fights cronyism. The truth is that immediately before last local government elections and since DA came into power at least the following happened –
a) A meeting held at a beach restaurant with Jeremy Ord of Dimension Data and senior DA politicians resulted in an IT deal worth at least R4, 2m being concluded. All tenders during the ANC rule were concluded in a transparent and legal process by municipal officials without any involvement of councilors, and losing bidders always had the right to challenge the bid outcome. In contrast, this one was opened and closed within minutes at a restaurant table with only DA officials and Dimension Data in attendance.
b) A company, Scorp Security, which had no mandatory registration certification with personnel that was not registered in terms of the country’s laws and was not on the municipality’s database, was appointed without an open tender or a transparent quotation as required by the law. The company was appointed at between R186 000 and R240 000 per month, excluding accommodation and related expenses.
c) A Consultant, Thys Giolimee, who was later illegally appointed Acting Municipal Manager, had to stand guard at Debra Nicholson, Brummer’s live-in girlfriend. Giliomee lied that the flat he was living at was not available during the December time. Brummer and Nicholson were going on holiday and wanted someone to guard their house. The municipality paid Nicholson so that Giolimee can guard her house, and the money was paid into Brummer’s account.
These things and others that I’ve not mentioned show that while the ANC did not “degenerate [Bitou] into a morass of habitual corruption over ten years” the DA achieved that in less than six months into office.
I have mentioned specific tender fraud engineered at the highest level of the DA. I challenge Christianson to do same with regard to the ANC.
Part 2 here.