ANC’s double standard on the unenclosed toilet saga

When the Democratic Alliance-led city of Cape Town was slapped with a Court order over a week ago for its unenclosed toilet saga in the Makhaza informal settlement and being called a “racist political party” by ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu for that – little did we know that an ANC-led municipality in the Free State province had also provided a community with the unenclosed toilets too just as did DA.

In a judgement handed down in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, Judge Nathan Erasmus said an agreement between the city and Makhaza community for the construction of about 1316 unenclosed toilets was unlawful and the city was then order enclose the toilets.

Mthembu said after the judgement was handed down that “not only is this landmark judgment a vindication of the long-held ANC view shared by many people, particularly the poor black working class of the Western Cape, that the DA is a racist political party only committed to protecting the last vestiges and policies of apartheid, but that its building of unenclosed toilets in Makhaza shows total disrespect for black dignity”.

“We have all along maintained that the DA, which creates an impression of espousing liberal values, is nothing else but a racist political party merely interested in protecting white privileges and those of the DA elite at the expense of the poor, working class residing in such squalid conditions as seen in Makhaza, Mannenburg, Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu and Nyanga to name a few”, Mthembu told South African Press Association as quoted in the Times online report on 30 April 2011.

Mthembu said the ANC had “always called on DA leader Helen Zille to climb down from her high horse and clean up her backyard in theWestern Capebefore venturing into unwarranted attacks on the progressive leadership of the ANC, with a track record of building better communities inSouth Africa”. He was further quoted as criticizing the DA saying “it is not, and will never be a political home for black people who include Africans, coloureds and Indians. It is not a party to be trusted and be voted into power by our people. Despite its desperation and attempts to confuse blacks of its true identity, the Makhaza judgment remains a chilling reminder showing on whose side Zille and his bunch of racist lackeys are on”.

In less than two weeks of having said this, Sunday Times newspaper reported today of  about 1600 toilets left uncovered for years, some of which were built as far back as 2003 by the ANC-run Moqhaka local municipality in the Free State. The report noted that some of these toilets, in a Rammulotsi settlement just outside Viljoenskroon, were in a state of “disrepair”, that many had “cracked” and that pipes had also vanished.

According to the report several toilets in Metampelo section built in 2004 also still stood unenclosed and many of them had “makeshift covers ranging from rusty corrugated iron sheets to pieces of plastic sheets”.

Executive mayor of the Mantebu municipality, Mokgosi Moqhaka, refused comment and referred the newspaper to the municipality’s acting technical services manager Mike Lekala who said the council took a “resolution” last year to provide cover for all toilets left unenclosed since 2003. This after an “audit” had found that about 1620 toilets were “left unattended to, the so-called open toilets”. According to Lelaka, about 378 toilets have since been covered while another 200 will be covered shortly.

Lekala told the newspaper that the covering of these toilets would cost the municipality about R8-million which it did not have, that only R4.2-million had been budged. He said on whether all these toilets would be covered or not would be “dependent on funding”. He said the departments of water affairs and human settlements was approached for assistance and is still awaiting a response.

Like inCape Town, Lelaka said the municipality had an agreement – which as seen inCape Town’s case was declared illegal and contrary to the Constitution – with residents that it would provide only sanitation and residents would put up the enclosures. This, sadly, at the municipality led by the ANC which has previously criticised a municipality led by an opposition party, DA for the same thing.

What do you make of this? Double standard?

Because DA was accused of being racist towards the majority black community of Makhaza – what would the ANC then be regard as since it is a majority black party and has treated its black people the same way DA did the Makhaza community? Is it black on black?

It is apparent that the delay of these human rights abuse could be blamed on the Human Rights Commission for its slow investigation. This is because the commission’s spokesman Vincent Moaga told the newspaper that it was “still investigating the matter” while Mthembu said the ruling party was “not aware” of the Rammulotsi toilet saga.

DA leader, Helen Zille, also told me on Twitter today when asked about the issue that “a complaint was laid with the Human Rights Commission 7 months ago. Still waiting!!!”

What would have made this report even more damning on this issue is if the newspaper had approached the human settlement to confirm or check if indeed it had been approached by the Mantebu municipality for assistance as Lekala claimed.

Mthembu asked the newspaper this: “Do you want to tell me that it’s the same situation like the one caused by the DA in Makhaza?” and said “whatever the circumstance, it’s unacceptable” and promised – and all political parties have done and still do, and even worse now during the local elections – that the party would “investigate, and whoever is responsible will have to answer”. “We cannot allow our people to be disrespected like that. It’s even worse if that’s being done by an ANC municipality”.

Well, Mr. Mthembu, isn’t this newspaper report an indication that the community of Rammulotsi has been “disrespected like this” already and that it is even worse because it is by an ANC-led municipality?

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