CAPE TOWN, A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Sotashe says it is crucial to start by revisiting the history of the City when it was governed by the ANC. He says the ANC managed between 2002 and 2006 to balance racial statistics on all Divisions and Departments of the metro, which ensured that the municipality reflected the demographics of the City it governed at all levels.
Currently, under the Democratic Alliance municipality, at senior management level of the City, white representation is sitting at 70%, compared to a white population of just over 15% in the province. That, Sotashe says was a travesty of justice.
“This has been the greatest fail of the Democratic alliance, its inability to eradicate the apartheid system that continues to perpetuate inequality that is racially-based and disunity in the Western Cape Province,” he says.
When the ANC reclaims the government of the City and other Western Cape Municipalities on August 3rd, the ANC’s mayoral candidate says the three top priorities are issues of integration, human settlement and creating a conducive environment for job creation, especially for SMMEs run by the previously disadvantaged who are currently marginalized under the DA.
“With a budget of over R40 billion – how much will be spent on ordinary City residents who are not a priority to the current party. We will depoliticize spending in the City.”
While the City has persistently claimed to spend shy of 70% of its National government budget on poor areas, Sotashe says that should be exposed as a deliberate lie to claim none existing victories.
In 2014, the City allocated money for the Masiphumelele Housing project phase 4. The budget allocation for Masiphulele Housing Project Phase 4 has been in the City’s books since the DA took office in 2006, with millions of allocation but not a single house or brick has been purchased for the project.
In the 2014/2015 budget allocation, the same Housing Project had R5 million budget allocation, to-date, nothing has happened. In the 2016/2017 budget allocation, the very same project has a budget allocation of R8 million. Still, there’s no single house on sight.
The City’s understanding of the poor was construed to mean a person who earns R10 500 a month and has a property to the value of R400 000. The tragedy of money either being unspent or misspent where it’s not needed was a defining feature of the DA government.
In the 2015/16 financial year for example an amount of R190m was unspent on the human settlements budgetary allocation of R430m. The previous year, of a budgetary allocation of R666m, R110m was unspent. Year on year, the provincial department tasked with human settlements does not spend its full budget.
When so much money was still left unspent only a month left before local government elections, Sontashe says the City is headed towards ‘Fiscal Dumping’, which he says has become a defining feature for the DA government.
The programme of building decent housing for the working class is a huge priority for the ANC, as the City battles a 400 000 backlog.
Whilst the City always made sure to give people back material to rebuild their shacks in times of shack fires, year in and year out, effectively making this City the biggest builders of shacks, the ANC would ensure that people were given decent houses at a much faster pace than what is currently happening.
The ANC, says Sontashe, will create more EPWP jobs duplicating the success of our other Metros like Tshwane, which has the highest number of EPWP employment opportunities. The party plans to integrate and improve the lives of ordinary hawkers and SMMEs by making an environment conducive for them to not only run their businesses but to also create employment.
“Smaller companies are given crumbs by the City. To date of the 8.7 billion spent on Capital Infrastructure, 7.6 billion has been spent on the rich. No money allocated to local labor. We will put an end to that.”
The ANC in the Western Cape is also going to put a stop on corruption in the City because it was the ANC that exposed the collusion in the building of the Cape Town stadium. The City continues to use the very companies charged with colluding to build the Stadium, giving those companies more business. The ANC will put an end to the colluding and corruption.
Research backs Sontashe’s claim that the Cape Town Metro is the only city in South Africa where the proportions of people living in informal areas has increased over the past five years. That is according to the latest State of South African Cities Report (SoCR), released last week.
The SoCR stated that while the City had made progress in reducing poverty and improving livelihoods, inequality remained a challenge. It further stated that the country’s institutions and systems needed to be reconfigured to support the cities.
The 2016 report noted that with mounting job losses and the economic downturn affecting both the rich and the poor, attention was increasingly focused on the role that cities play in stimulating and supporting economic development.
Cape Town is the only metro which does not belong to the network. Released every five years since 2006, the SoCR monitors city development and service delivery against local benchmarks and strategies, national urban development priorities and international development targets.
The claim of Cape Town being the shining example of service delivery is exaggerated in a sense that the DA run two cities in one city; one for the rich and the other for the poor, according to Sontashe.
Over the years the ANC government has fundamentally changed apartheid’s disintegrated systems by establishing coherent, functional and stable structures and systems of local governance.
“Our people must today and now, decide if they want to continue rewarding a party with their vote, a Party which in turn spits on their faces and tell them their premium of citizenry is not worth as much as the other on the hill,” concludes Sotashe.
By Xolani Sotashe, He is the ANC’s mayoral candidate for the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality