WESTERN Cape African National Congress (ANC) leader Marius Fransman was on Thursday booed and jeered by members of the controversial lobby group Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement when he tried to address protesters outside the provincial legislature.
A march by Ses’khona to the provincial legislature meant to register the lobby group’s anger at the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led city of Cape Town and province about “poor service delivery” ended up showcasing the deep divisions that exist between the influential Khayelitsha-based lobby group and the ANC in the province.
Ironically, most of those who booed Mr Fransman were wearing ANC T-shirts. Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla, who lead Ses’khona, are both ANC members.
The group previously supported the ANC, but the relationship between the two organisations started to deteriorate last year following the shooting of Mr Lili. He was seriously wounded after being shot in Khayelitsha. He has since recovered from the shooting and has alleged that the attempted murder was politically motivated.
The booing of Mr Fransman is likely to worry the ANC in the province as the party prepares for the local government elections. Ses’khona has a strong presence in informal settlements in and around Cape Town. It was behind the poo-protests two years ago, during which human waste was dumped at the Western Cape legislature and Cape Town International Airport.
On Thursday the group managed to bring out hundreds of protesters who marched to the provincial legislature to “demand answers” from Premier Helen Zille on housing provision and sanitation, among other demands. Some of the protesters were armed with sticks. Although there was a heavy police presence, some protesters looted stalls in the city and reportedly attacked bystanders. Previous marches by Ses’khona have also been characterised by violence and looting.
“We have marched before for better services but we have not received any response from the premier … all we want are answers on (service delivery issues in the Marikana township, situated in Philippi). We will protest until we get answers,” Mr Lili said.
He told protesters that the ANC had not supported him when he was removed from his position as Cape Town councillor and when he and others appeared in court after being charged for throwing human waste at the airport. He and eight other members of the lobby group, including Mr Nkohla, were found guilty earlier this year for contravening the Civil Aviation Act. They are yet to be sentenced.
When Mr Fransman tried to address the crowd at the provincial legislature, he was booed with some protesters shouting “voetsek”. He ended up being forced to go back into the legislature. The crowd also got angry when Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela came out to address them and demanded that Ms Zille should come out.
ANC Western Cape spokesman Cobus Grobler said in a statement later that the party was “disappointed that Ses’Khona leader Andile Lili went on the attack against the ANC members”.
“Despite a past period of tensions, the ANC remains committed to fight with Ses’Khona for better services and conditions for the poor. The ANC condemns and distances itself from the ill-disciplined individuals who afterwards went on a rampage and allegedly looted some businesses,” he said.
Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato called on the South African Police Services to review camera footage to identify the perpetrators of the looting and various other crimes.
“Ses’khona must also be held liable for the damage inflicted on public property, including Cape Town station,” he said.