DA eviction threat riles SACP

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The South African Communist Party has accused Cape Town mayor Helen Zille of failing the poor by threatening to cut off water and electricity, and evict people from their homes.

The SACP's Western Cape secretary, Luthando Nogcinisa, yesterday said it had joined forces with the anti-eviction campaign to stop the DA-led city government from going ahead with its threats.

He called on "poor and working people" to resist these actions.

"Service cut-offs and evictions are an attack on the human rights of ordinary poor and working people to a decent and tolerable life, access to services and means of livelihood," said Nogcinisa.

"In fact, the evictions and service cut-offs are a violation of the constitutional duties of the state to provide services to the public," said Nogcinisa.

He claimed the city had decided on its R20,3billion budget this year without consultation on how it should be spent.

The city recently released a draft budget for public consultation.

"Throughout the last 16 months, thousands of residents in Phillipi, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Zille Rain Heights, Vrygrond and elsewhere have been receiving pink letters of demand for payment for water, electricity and sanitation.

"Many of these residents are unemployed and others receive low wages. Despite this, the DA-led municipality has threatened legal action followed by evictions."

Zille's spokesman Robert Macdonald said the city had changed its indigency policy so that more poor households could be brought into its net.

There were also free basic services for poor people. The city also had a policy of making arrangement for paying, even if it was only R10 a month.

Macdonald said the current administration inherited a R4,5billion debt when it came to power because the previous administration had been "negligent" in recovering debt.

Now the city has R2 billion available for much-needed housing and other pressing needs, including building electric substations and water treatment facilities in preparation for much-needed houses.

l See page 16